African-American actress Danièle Watts claims she was "handcuffed and detained" by police officers from the Studio City Police Department in Los Angeles on Thursday after allegedly being mistaken for a prostitute.
According to accounts by Watts and her husband Brian James Lucas, two police officers mistook the couple for a prostitute and client when they were seen showing affection in public. Watts refused to show her ID to the cops when questioned and was subsequently handcuffed and placed in the back of their car while police attempted to ascertain her identity. The two officers released Watts shortly afterwards.
Watts, who played CoCo in Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained and currently stars in Martin Lawrence vehicle Partners, posted an account of the incident on her Facebook page:
"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.
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 2 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 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!!!!!!!
I was sitting in that back of this cop car, filled with adrenaline, my wrist bleeding in pain, and it occurred to me, that even there, I STILL HAD POWER OVER MY OWN SPIRIT.
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.
I will continue to look any “authority figure” in the eye without fear. NO POLICE OFFICER OR GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL IS MORE POWERFUL THAN ME. WE ARE EQUALS. I KNOW THAT I WILL ALWAYS BE FREE BECAUSE THAT IS THE NATURE OF MY SPIRIT.
And moreover, I deeply enjoyed connecting with the cops who detained me. 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.
Today I exist with courage, knowing that I am blessed to have experienced what I did today. All of those feelings, no matter how uncomfortable. These feelings are what builds my internal strength, my ability to grow through WHATEVER may happen to me.
That internal knowing is what guides me in this world. Not the law, not fear, not mistrust of government or cops or anything else.
In this moment there is a still small voice whispering to me. It says: You are love. You are free. You are pure."
Watt's husband Brian Lucas, who is white, claimed that the two were targeted by police for being an interracial couple. In a seperate post on his Facebook page, Lucas said that "from the questions that [police] 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)."
Another photo from the incident:
An Los Angeles PD public information officer told Variety that "there was no record of the incident as Watts wasn’t arrested or brought into the station for questioning."
Here's all Watts has had to say since:
love hopes all things bears all things believes all things endures all things. love never ends.— danièle watts (@danielewatts) September 11, 2014