Studio City police are in hot water after a controversial incident on September 2, which has left a couple of the department’s officers branded as racists.
Daniele Watts appeared in the Oscar-winning 2012 film ‘Django Unchained.’ In case you missed it, the movie followed the quest of a former slave named Django, played by Jamie Foxx, to free his long lost wife from a brutal plantation owner who was keeping her as a sex slave.
Watts played a house slave named ‘Coco’ in Quentin Tarantino’s 2012 film ‘Django Unchained.’
Watts was kissing her husband, Brian James Lucas, who is white, on a Studio City street when someone called the cops assuming she was a prostitute. The assumption was likely made solely on the fact that Watts is black, because she was not dressed in lingerie or even a revealing outfit.
This dramatic shot was taken during the incident, then posted to Facebook by Watts. As you can see, she was not dressed in attire which would lead anyone to believe she is a prostitute, adding to her case that the cops who detained her were racist.
Watts, who plays Martin Lawrence’s daughter on the new FX comedy ‘Partners,’ wrote on her Facebook page:
“Today I was handcuffed and detained by 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 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 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’ words are sincere and upsetting, though it’s important to note that she was ultimately detained by police because she refused to show them identification. If she had done so, this entire mess could have been avoided. That idea begs the question of whether or not Watts was required by law to show the police her ID. Technically, she would have only had to do so if suspected of a crime. While the police did suspect her of being a prostitute, they had very little evidence to warrant their suspicions. In a nutshell, it’s uncertain whether or not Watts was required by law to show her ID, but if she had done so, the cops would have simply let her go about her business.
Studio City police handcuffed and detained Watts when she refused to show them ID.
Lucas, a chef, posted about the incident on his Facebook page as well, saying:
“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 H* (prostitute) & a TRICK (client). What an assumption to make!!!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!!!”
Watts and Lucas maintain that the actress’ wrist was cut when police handcuffed her.
While many have voiced their disgust for the officers who detained Watts, there are two sides to every story. First of all, it’s not their fault that they received a call regarding someone who was reported to them as being a prostitute. By responding to that call, they were only doing their jobs. If the witness who had called in had been correct, the cops could have busted a sex worker that day.
In addition, many will use this case as a poster child for racial profiling. The fact of the matter is, racial profiling is not always a bad thing. If the streets of Studio City are known to be crawling with African American prostitutes who are frequented by white men, then it certainly behooves law enforcement to be hyper-vigilant when it comes to situations which could be examples of this.
Actress Daniele Watts with her husband, Brian James Lucas.
What is your take on this situation? Were the police only doing their jobs? Or are they guilty of racism? Sound off in the comments section!