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An African-American actress who appeared in Django Unchained says she was accosted by Los Angeles police who mistakenly thought she was a prostitute.
Daniele Watts, who portrayed Coco in Quentin Tarantino‘s Oscar-winning film and currently plays Martin Lawrence‘s daughter on FX’s new comedy series Partners, wrote on her Facebook page that she and boyfriend Brian James Lucas, who is white, were being affectionate in public when the incident occurred Thursday.
“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,” she wrote. “When the officer arrived, I was standing on the sidewalk by a tree. I was talking to my father on my cellphone. 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.”
She also posted a photo of herself crying standing beside the officer and wrote that her wrist was “bleeding in pain.”
“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,” she continued. “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!!!!!!!”
Lucas also wrote about the incident on his own Facebook page.
“Today, Daniele Watts & I were accosted by police officers after showing our affection publicly,” he wrote. “From the questions that he asked me as D was already on her phone with her dad, I could tell that whoever called on us (including the officers), saw a tatted RAWKer white boy and a hot bootie shorted black girl and thought we were a HO (prostitute) & a TRICK (client). This is something that happened to her and her father when she was 16. What an assumption to make!!!”
The Los Angeles Police Department told The Hollywood Reporter in a statement that the officers were responding to a radio call of indecent exposure. “The citizen who called the police to complain told the 9-1-1 operator that a male and a female were involved in indecent exposure inside a Silver Mercedes with the vehicle door open,” reads the statement.
According to the LAPD, Watts and Lucas were “briefly detained” until it was determined that they had not committed a crime, at which point they were released.
“An internal complaint investigation has been initiated regarding this matter,” the LAPD added.
Watts also has appeared on several episodes of TV series Weeds as well as in guest spots on Melissa & Joey, How I Met Your Mother and Private Practice, among others.
Sept. 14, 11:47 a.m. Updated with the LAPD’s comment about an upcoming news release.
Sept. 14, 4: 29 p.m. Updated with the LAPD statement.
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