The white boyfriend of black actress Daniele Watts said over the weekend that police stopped the pair in Studio City and questioned him as if he were the "client of a prostitute."
He also said in another interview that officers treated Watts and himself not as girlfriend and boyfriend but as "ho and trick." The subtext here, picked up by many observers, was that the actress was questioned and handcuffed because she is an African American woman whom cops believed was working the streets. Watts took to her Facebook page to say the encounter caused "anger, frustration, and rage."
But yesterday the Los Angeles Police Department responded with a different story:
The department says this was all about a citizen's complaint and that once officers figured things out the couple was free to go.
About 3:01 p.m. Thursday officers responded to a "concerned" neighbor's report of alleged "indecent exposure" in 11900 block of Ventura Boulevard, according to the LAPD's version of events:
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.
Cops and a sergeant arrived, detained two people who "matched the description," and let them go after "it was determined that no crime had been committed," the department states.
Watts, known for her work in Django Unchained and Weeds, said she and boyfriend Brian James Lucas, a self-proclaimed "rawk star chef," were simply "showing affection, fully clothed, in a public place."
TMZ says she had just had a meeting with a director at the nearby CBS studios when she was confronted by cops.
In her Facebook post, Watts admitted that she walked away when one officer arrived. And reports indicated that she allegedly refused to show officers her identification, a decision that legally allows law enforcers to throw someone in jail until they can figure out who they are.
Watts didn't end up behind bars, but she did express rage over being, as she put it, "accosted" by police. She wrote:
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I knew that I had done nothing wrong ...
Those cops could not stop me from expressing myself. They could not stop the cathartic tears and rage from flowing out of me. They could not force me to feel bad about myself. Yes, they had control over my physical body, but not my emotions. My feelings. My spirit was, and still is FREE.
The actress said the episode reminded her of times her father was stopped by police for no good reason. And, she said, she was on the phone with her dad when cops finally put her in handcuffs Thursday.
Watts said her wrist ended up bleeding because the handcuffs were too tight. She is reportedly pondering legal action against the LAPD.