'Django Unchained' actress cuffed by LAPD after refusing to show ID*

Updated below.

daniele-watts-detained.jpgActress Daniele Watts and her boyfriend, chef Brian James Lucas, posted on Facebook that she was detained, handcuffed and put in the back of a police car in Studio City as a suspected prostitute last Thursday. They say it was because they are a mixed-race couple — she is black, he is white — and had been affectionate in public; the LAPD says officers were responding to a report of indecent exposure in a car. She was standing alone on the sidewalk on Ventura Boulevard, on the phone with her dad, when the police rousted her. Not sure exactly where Lucas was at the time, but he video recorded the action and his account has the incident escalating to handcuffs when Watts refused to show her ID as demanded.


Because of my past experience with the law, I gave him my ID knowing we did nothing wrong and when they asked D for hers, she refused to give it because they had no right to do so.

So they handcuffed her and threw her roughly into the back of the cop car until they could figure out who she was. In the process of handcuffing her, they cut her wrist, which was truly NOT COOL!!!

Our freedom isn't freedom folks, when people can abuse others with no reason or evidence at all just because they "think" they have been given the power by people that are ONLY equal to us.

Of course, they had to let her go eventually cuz we weren't a threat to anyone.

After the Facebook posts were shared by thousands and picked up in the media, the LAPD said it would investigate what happened. Watts and Lucas were released at the scene without being arrested.

From Watts' post:

Today I was handcuffed and detained by 2 police officers from the Studio City Police Department after refusing to agree that I had done something wrong by showing affection, fully clothed, in a public place.

When the officer arrived, I was standing on the sidewalk by a tree. I was talking to my father on my cell phone. I knew that I had done nothing wrong, that I wasn’t harming anyone, so I walked away.

A few minutes later, I was still talking to my dad when 2 different police officers accosted me and forced me into handcuffs.

As I was sitting in the back of the police car, I remembered the countless times my father came home frustrated or humiliated by the cops when he had done nothing wrong. I felt his shame, his anger, and my own feelings of frustration for existing in a world where I have allowed myself to believe that “authority figures” could control my BEING… my ability to BE!!!!!!!

I was sitting in that back of this cop car, filled with adrenaline, my wrist bleeding in pain, and it occurred to me, that even there, I STILL HAD POWER OVER MY OWN SPIRIT.

Those cops could not stop me from expressing myself. They could not stop the cathartic tears and rage from flowing out of me. They could not force me to feel bad about myself. Yes, they had control over my physical body, but not my emotions. My feelings. My spirit was, and still is FREE.


And moreover, I deeply enjoyed connecting with the cops who detained me. I allowed myself to be honest about my anger, frustration, and rage as tears flowed from my eyes. The tears I cry for a country that calls itself "the land of the free and the home of the brave" and yet detains people for claiming that very right.

Watts made her film debut as Coco in "Django Unchained" and has also had recurring parts on TV in "Weeds" and the new FX show "Partners." She has TV credits going back to 2008. She's from Atlanta, so don't anybody get too hung up on her calling it the Studio City PD. Among the Facebook members commenting on her page was Charles Belk, the black producer who was detained for several hours recently in Beverly Hills because he supposedly fit the description of a bank robber. "This is crazy Daniele Watts that you were even targeted!," Belk wrote. "The time may have come for renewed officer sensitivity training and a systematic review and overhaul of our country's law enforcement processes, policies and procedures."

LAPD officials told the media Sunday they are investigating what happened. North Hollywood Capt. Stephen Carmona told the LA Times it's basic police work when answering a call to probe more deeply when a person of interest refuses to produce ID.

11 a.m. update: TMZ reports that witnesses in the Directors Guild office building on Ventura say they watched the couple having sex in the front passenger seat of a car with the door open. When the police came, an audio recording shows, Watts refused to provide her ID, accused the officers of racism and stalked away. When officers brought her back to the scene they handcuffed her, amid more racially tinged rants. Also, later on CNN Watts said she felt she is within her rights to refuse to show ID to a cop if she doesn't believe a crime has been committed. I'm pretty sure California law disagrees with her. As a practical matter, as LAPD sergeant Jim Parker apparently told her at the scene, once someone stopped has been asked to show identification, “I'm going to get your ID one way or the other.”

Also: Both Watts and Lucas say on Facebook they are in a relationship but not married, so I changed references to their status.

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