“Django Unchained” actress Daniele Watts is accusing police of racism after she was handcuffed last week when she refused to show her ID to Los Angeles police.
The African-American actress and her white boyfriend were livid when police questioned them in what they said was only a public display of affection in their car.
“I believe in America and what it stands for,” Watts said Monday in an interview on CNN’s New Day.
According to a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Police Department, officers responded to a 911 call, which claimed “a male white and female black were involved in a sexual act inside a Mercedes” outside the gate of CBS Studio Center on Thursday.
“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. “Two people were briefly detained, but it was revealed no crime had been committed.”
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The officer had the right to request identification if he suspected illegal behavior, legal experts told CNN. However TMZ published part of the audio encounter with police, and it’s apparent that Watts did not believe they had the right to ask for her ID.
“Somebody called, which gives me the right to be here,” the unidentified Los Angeles police officer says to Watts in the audio recording. “So It gives me the right to identify you by law.”
“Do you know how many times the cops have been called just for being black?” she responded.
“Who brought up the race card?” the officer asked.
“I’m bringing it up because I have every right to be here,” Watts answered.
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The actress responded to the officers second request for ID with, “You can take me down to the court office, and I can make a scene about it. And you know what? I have a publicist, and I work as an actor in this studio.”
The officer, who is well-acqainted with similar responses since he patrols a neighborhood with many A-list celebrities that include George Clooney and Miley Cyrus, didn’t waver. “I’m mildly interested you have a publicist, but I’m going to get your ID,” he insisted.
“No, I’m going to say no, and if you’d like my ID you can say that I’m resisting arrest,” she said.
“There’s no resisting, you’re just interfering,” he said. “I have probable cause; we received a radio call.”
Watts then made a call to her father, comedian Martin Lawrence.
“I can’t make out with my boyfriend in front of my f–king studio?” she screams to her father. “I don’t have to give him my ID because it’s my right to sit on the f–king street corner and make out with my boyfriend. That’s my right.”
“Keep yelling, it really helps,” the officer then said.
Watts was eventually handcuffed and placed in a patrol car until her boyfriend, Brian James Lucas, better known as celebrity chef Cheffy Be*Live, gave the officer her ID.
Lucas posted on Facebook following the incident, eluding that it was a racist encounter.