Actress Daniele Watts charged with lewd conduct

Thumbnail image for daniele-watts-detained.jpgDaniele Watts and her boyfriend, chef Brian James Lucas, were both charged by the City Attorney's office with a single misdemeanor count of lewd conduct in connection with the incident in Studio City that led to her widely seen claim of racial profiling by the LAPD. The cops had received complaints of a couple having sex in the open door of a car parked in mid-afternoon near the CBS Radford studio. The responding cops encountered Watts and Lucas on the sidewalk; they fit the description. When she walked away rather than engage with the cops, one of the cops cuffed her. Then she engaged, challenging the authority of the LAPD to question her and alleging it was all racial. (Watts is black, Lucas is not.) After the stop ended without any arrest or citation, Watts and Lucas posted photos on Facebook and said she was treated as a suspected prostitute due to her skin color. Somebody else (frankly I forget who) posted video and audio of her berating the cops, generating a backlash from, among others, leading LA civil rights activists who urged her to get real. Watts made some TV appearances to push her case, but I saw more ridicule of her than support in social media, then she sort of faded away. Meanwhile, the LAPD looked into the actions of its officers.

Now today the City Attorney says there is enough evidence to prosecute Watts and Lucas for I guess the original alleged sex act. Watts said previously they were kissing fully dressed and not having sex, though some witnesses reported some graphic details of a sex act.

Arraignment is scheduled for Nov. 13.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson and Najee Ali, two of the activists who chastised Watts, said the City Attorney prosecution sends the right message: that claims of racial profiling should not be used to cover up real wrongdoing. "We made it clear from the moment that Watts and her boyfriend claimed racial profiling when their was no evidence that this was the case," the activists said in a statement this afternoon. "Racial profiling is not a toy, a plaything, and something to be charged frivolously, but a deadly issue that civil rights leaders and organizations take very seriously and have waged and will continue to battle against when it's justified. That wasn't the case with Watts and her conduct and the city attorney's action proves that."

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