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African American actress Daniele Watts cast her run-in with the Los Angeles Police Department last week as one tainted by racial undertones, but cops this week are fighting back.
Watts' white boyfriend, chef Brian James Lucas, took to social media to accuse the LAPD of stopping the pair because they believed the two were, as he put it, "ho and trick."
But audio released by police to select media outlets, including TMZ, appears to cast doubt on the pair's version of events:
Police indicated to us the officer's voice on the audio is that of Sgt. Jim Parker, first on the scene.
An LAPD official said Parker had responded to a call reporting lewd acts. The official told us the exact dispatcher comments of the citizen's report were that a white man and a black woman in floral shorts were ...
... having sex in the vehicle with door open.
This was about 3:01 p.m. Thursday in the 11900 block of Ventura Boulevard in North Hollywood. Watts' camp said she had just taken a meeting at the adjacent CBS studios lot and was making out with Lucas before officers arrived.
Over the weekend Watts, who appeared in Django Unchained and on Showtime's Weeds, and her boyfriend Lucas, a self-proclaimed "rawk star chef," took to social media to accuse the LAPD of conducting a racist stop.
But Parker defended himself yesterday on KFI AM 640 radio's John and Ken show.
He said the caller, located by police, reiterated that the pair were allegedly having full-on sex in a car, and that one of them wiped off with a tissue afterward and threw that tissue on the ground.
The audio, ostensibly taken from one of the department's new body cameras, doesn't support any of what Lucas alleged—that the two were suspected of being customer and prostitute.
On the audio, the sergeant explains: "Somebody called, which gives me the right to be here. So [it] gives me the right to identify you, by law."
"Do you know how many times the cops have called for being black," she says.
"Who brought up the race card," Parker says.
"I'm bringing it up," she says. " ... I have every right to be here."
"And I have every right to ask for your ID," he says.
"I have every right to say no," Watts says.
"No you do not have every right to say no," the cop says.
"I have a publicist," she says, which recalls for us last year's arrest of the very white and entitled Reese Witherspoon.
"You have a publicist," the cop says, "but I'm going to get your ID ... I have probable cause. We received a call."
The sarge, despite a lot of armchair legal analysis on the interwebs, is absolutely right.
Police have the ability to detain people for questioning during an investigation in which low-threshold probable cause exists that they might be involved in a crime. Police have the duty to identify those people. That can include taking them to jail and having them fingerprinted, lest they be wanted criminals.
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Watts screams, "I don't have to give him my ID because it's my right to sit on the fucking street corner and make out with my boyfriend. That's my right."
She then tries to give her phone to the sergeant so he can speak with her father. "My dad would like to talk with you," she says.
Parker calls for a female officer to come detain Watts, and that's what apparently happens moments later. He also tells someone, ostensibly Lucas, that if she would have identified herself from the get-go, "I'd already be gone."