September 15th, 2014
04:15 AM ET

Actress: Police Cuffed Me for PDA

"Django Unchained" actress Daniele Watts says Los Angeles police allegedly detained her because they thought she was a prostitute.

Watts, who is African-American, and her white boyfriend accuse police of racism for questioning them after they were seen showing affection in public.

An LAPD spokesman told CNN Sunday that officers from its North Hollywood precinct were responding to a citizen complaint.

"There was an indication on the radio call that a male white and female black were involved in a sexual act inside a Mercedes with the vehicle door open," Officer Sally Madera said.

Her boyfriend - Brian James Lucas but better known as celebrity chef Cheffy Be*Live - wrote in a Facebook post that police "saw a tatted RAWKer white boy and a hot bootie shorted black girl and thought we were a HO (prostitute) & a TRICK (client)."

"Two people were briefly detained, but it was revealed no crime had been committed," Medera said.

The man was not handcuffed, but the woman was, according to the couple.

The alleged racial-profiling incident happened on a sidewalk near the gate of the CBS Studio Center in Studio City on Thursday.

The neighborhood is an upscale area and is home to many celebrities, including George Clooney, Miley Cyrus and Steve Martin.

The couple posted a short video clip and several photos showing Watts in handcuffs talking to police. One image shows a cut on her wrist, which she said was caused by the tight handcuffs.

Watts, who acts in the FX show "Partners," said the officers "accosted me and forced me into handcuffs" after she refused "to agree that I had done something wrong by showing affection, fully clothed, in a public place."

Lucas said when an officer asked for their identifications, he showed his that but Watts 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," he wrote. "In the process of handcuffing her, they cut her wrist, which was truly NOT COOL!!!"

She was released "quite quickly when they realized we were right outside CBS and that she was a celebrity and I was a celeb chef," Lucas wrote. "Before they figured out who she was they were threatening calling an ambulance and drugging her for being psychologically unstable, SO NOT COOL WHATSOEVER! "

Watts and Lucas said they initially decided to forget about the incident, but then they decided they needed to speak up.

"We still forgive, love and bless them ... just not putting up with this for our own freedom and heart space," Lucas wrote.

The couple has contacted lawyers, the ACLU and the NAACP, he said. "Our publicist has us in contact with media about it, too, and we're supposed to hear back."

Watts, a native of Atlanta, made her feature film debut in 2012 as Coco in the Oscar-nominated "Django Unchained." Her biggest television role is on "Partners," in which she plays Martin Lawrence's daughter.

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soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. John

    They do know the audio of the entire encounter was released prior to commenting on the situation, right? I believe the voting on the matter left 85% of people convinced she was pulling the race card, whilst the other 15%...were African American...this damn country...

    September 17, 2014 at 3:12 am | Reply
  2. Bill

    What a bunch of idiots you people are, always willing to give away other peoples rights. Funny how the law is always right until it applies to you!

    September 16, 2014 at 12:28 pm | Reply
    • John

      Shut up you jackass. Have you listened to the audio? The officer was incredibly nice about the entire thing even though this woman tried to: first pull the race card, then pull the celebrity card. This race card shit needs to stop. Grow a pair and stop blooming everyone else for your ignorance.

      September 17, 2014 at 3:15 am | Reply
  3. againzthype

    This is what seems to be the prevailing logic:

    – You have no choice and must produce a valid ID when asked
    – The police are not obligated to show cause for requesting an ID
    – Questioning the motive of the police immediately makes you suspect and identifies you as a potential criminal
    – Your non-cooperation provides the police to privilege of a summary judgment of your guilt and therefore subject to arrest
    – Being intimidated by the police without a show of probable cause is legal because they are just doing their job
    – Not showing an ID to the police is considered illegal and subject to violent action or reprisal and arrest by the police

    As a layperson this is what I understand:
    – There are no laws in the United States that requires citizens carry an ID
    – In lieu, a valid driver's license has been used as ID but not everyone drives
    – As sovereigns of the state we are free to travel without having to show an ID unless leaving the country
    – The police have no authority to assess guilt or innocence or conduct unless individuals are caught in the act
    – Police must demonstrate probable cause in order to detain or arrest
    – 4th amendment rights of citizens is designed to prevent illegal search and seizures unless (again) there is probable cause

    In this instance, Ms. Watts was not engaged in anything lewd or illegal when she was approached. She therefore did not provide the police with probable cause for the officers to request an ID. Without probable cause, the officers should not have accosted Ms. Watts and if having done so should have just informed her that persons fitting her and her boyfriends description was reported to the police for having sex in public and requested their response before deciding if anything illegal had happened. However, from what I understand the police wrongly assumed that Ms. Watts was a prostitute and therefore requested that she show ID. The assumption was incorrect and her 4th amendment rights were violated. Without any probable cause and being in a public place, Ms. Watts should have been free to stay or leave without intimidation.

    And that argument that, "Why refuse to show your ID if you've done nothing wrong", simply shows the lack of understanding our 4th amendment right to privacy. The same ridiculous argument is also used when the government is caught spying and illegally surveilling its own citizens. It's because you have done nothing wrong that you have the right to your privacy and not have reveal any information about yourself. This is not a police state, or is it? Sometimes, I wonder.

    September 15, 2014 at 6:50 pm | Reply
    • John

      I'm just gonna go ahead and assume, by your moniker, that you are black and incredibly biased. The request for identification simply reassures the police you are not a felon and there is no need to worry. TWO people from the building called the police stating SHE WAS HAVING SEX. Wtf would you do? Oh wait, never mind, you would probably TWERK.

      September 17, 2014 at 3:18 am | Reply
  4. MOOSE

    Total lack of respect for everyone including law enforcement . I hope she loses her status as an actress from all of the negative publicity and she ends up as a clerk at a local police precinct . Wouldn't that be funny !!!

    September 15, 2014 at 4:32 pm | Reply
    • John

      Your comment makes no sense. "Total lack of respect for everyone. " Are you trying to say she is disrespectful to everyone involved or everyone involved is disrespectful. #PleaseDoNotBecomeAWriter

      September 17, 2014 at 3:22 am | Reply
  5. MOOSE

    I think the police used a great amount of restraint . I have read that someone called the police after a guard or someone on the Hollywood property asked them to stop what they were dong and please leave the premises . Just ridiculous behavior and reminds me a bit of Reese Witherspoon about a year back telling the police how important she was and trying to sell her celebrity as a way to help herself . Have some respect for others and stuff like this doesn't happen . Frankly , I hope this is really so negative for her that she loses her status as an Actor and she needs to become a clerk at a police precinct . Wouldn't that be funny !!!

    September 15, 2014 at 4:29 pm | Reply
  6. JonCNN

    Most Lawyers ARE saying that since a crime was reported to LAPD and Officers were responding to a "crime in process", she WAS obligated to provide ID. More audio/video: 1) 'Django Unchained' Actress - Cops: After Car Sex She Pulls Race, Fame Card (POLICE AUDIO)
    'Django' Actress
    Cops: After Car Sex
    She Pulls Race, Fame Card (POLICE AUDIO)

    Read more: 2) Witnesses: ‘Django Unchained’ actress and boyfriend having sex in car before police arrived

    September 15, 2014 at 1:29 pm | Reply
  7. Andy

    This actress was definitely in the wrong. When the police receive a complaint, they must respond to it to determine the validity. One of the steps is to identify the subjects and then to verify if the complaint was justified or not. This had nothing to do with race. This could all have been avoided by her simply providing her ID. It looks to me more like a publicity stunt than anything else.

    September 15, 2014 at 1:05 pm | Reply
  8. Tj

    In California you must show ID if asked.
    Learn the law prior to speaking out about it.

    September 15, 2014 at 1:00 pm | Reply
  9. Book-im Danno

    Get a room!

    September 15, 2014 at 12:25 pm | Reply
  10. bocca

    Danno, Incorrect.
    Police do NOT have "every right" to detail her or anyone else for copping an attitude.

    "What a mess this country would be in if everyone simply refused to show their ID to the police when asked!"

    Please, please please take a civics course in your local community college. Every US Citizen should know what their fundamental Constitutional Rights are.

    September 15, 2014 at 12:15 pm | Reply
  11. Jess

    TMZ has released audio of the encounter... and she made a total fool of herself IMO. This had nothing to do with race.

    September 15, 2014 at 10:29 am | Reply
  12. Danno

    She wasn't handcuffed and detained for being black or for having a white boyfriend, she was handcuffed and detained because she decided to cop a defiant attitude and refused to identify herself to the police. Does anyone really think that a white person who did the same would not have also been detained until they were identified? Kinda tired of blacks thinking that they are above the law and screaming racism every time they don't get their way.

    September 15, 2014 at 9:33 am | Reply
  13. Theresa

    The reason why her boyfriend didn't get arrested and she did was because he cooperated and gave his ID. Maybe the person who called profiled them but after that it sounds like the police were doing their job.

    September 15, 2014 at 8:38 am | Reply
    • Jenny

      To me it sounds like they weren't doing their job. Once they rolled up and found the woman standing next to a tree ,talking on the phone with her father and the male just sitting there, both of them fully clothed and not engaging in any "lewd" act, the appropriate response is to drive on. there's nothing visibly illegally occurring and that is the only way the police would be able to arrest these two: if they were caught in the act. they weren't so they win. that's how the cookie crumbles. the police jut seem to have a really big problem with being sore losers. they did nothing but waste taxpayer dollars and – with there extreme stupidity – also open the door for a lawsuit (more taxpayer dollars down the tubes).

      September 15, 2014 at 9:20 am | Reply
  14. truthiness

    Act like a lady and I doubt the handcuffs would've happened. When people assume they'll be treated poorly they create their own reality.

    September 15, 2014 at 8:34 am | Reply
  15. Jenny

    I've questions: 1. who called the police? i think we all have a right to know which busybodies have it out for American citizens that aren't even breaking laws. they are the threat to our public safety, not people making out in a car. 2. why did the female get handcuffed but the male didn't? I don't understand. The smaller female human with the least amount of physical prowess gets handcuffed but the larger male human who physically poses a greater threat does not? amazing. must be yet another example of the wicked smart intelligence of our police forces.

    September 15, 2014 at 7:43 am | Reply
  16. Bad_mojo

    Sounds like she became unhinged after they asked for ID but we don't get to see that part of the video. Act reasonably and in most cases you get treated reasonably. She calmed right down after the cuffs went on which is when the video starts. Put the entire incident up & I bet it's a different story.

    Crying wolf with the race card just to get her career going again.

    September 15, 2014 at 7:15 am | Reply
    • Jenny

      She does not have to show them her ID. She wasn't doing anything illegal. It doesn't matter WHO she is . The only person who should be cuffed and interrogated in this story is the person who wrongly called the police in the first place. It should be illegal for them to remain anonymous. We the public should have a right to know which members of society are so mentally imbalanced that they call the police when they see people kissing. They are the threat to our safety, not people sitting in a car, making out.

      September 15, 2014 at 7:47 am | Reply
      • Theresa

        I agree she doesn't have to show her ID but after she didn't she was seen as uncooperative. Then the police have the right to cuff her and bring her in. My father always told me to treat the authorities with respect and cooperate. I think the real threat are the people who make the police afraid to do their job because they are afraid of being sued.

        September 15, 2014 at 9:04 am |
      • Danno

        You're right. She DOESN'T have to show her ID, but the police have every right to detain her or anyone else copping that attitude until they know who they're dealing with. Why refuse to show your ID if you've done nothing wrong? What a mess this country would be in if everyone simply refused to show their ID to the police when asked!

        September 15, 2014 at 9:36 am |

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