‘Django’s’ Daniele Watts refused to give cop ID, and she isn’t sorry
Actress Daniele Watts of “Django Unchained” fame said she did not regret refusing to hand over her ID to police investigating a call about indecent exposure over the weekend in North Hollywood.
“It’s because I believe in America and what it stands for, and I believe in freedom,” she said on CNN’s “New Day.” “If I’m within my amendment rights, my constitutional rights to say, ‘No, unless you’re charging me with a crime I will not be giving you my ID.’ That is a right that I stand up for because of the shoulders that I stand on ... because of the people who fought so hard for their rights that came before me.”
According to the police account of the incident, officers were responding to a 911 complaint that a couple was engaged in indecent exposure last week inside a silver Mercedes-Benz with the door open.
Patrol officers and a sergeant from the North Hollywood Division responded to the 11900 block of Ventura Boulevard in Studio City and “located two individuals that matched the description of the suspects, and they were briefly detained,” police said in a statement.
Watts and her companion, Los Angeles chef Brian James Lucas, were subsequently released after an investigation revealed no crime had been committed.
She told CNN that she was “humbled” by the incident and was grateful it was getting so much media attention because it would “raise awareness.”
Appearing with Watts, Lucas, who is white, said he felt the incident was rooted in racial profiling and that the officer asked questions that suggested he believed Watts was a prostitute.
“It doesn’t matter how passionately we’re making out,” Watts said, “I don’t feel like I should feel shameful for that or have to apologize for that.”
Video posted on social media showed Watts handcuffed, wearing a T-shirt, gym shorts and athletic shoes, telling an officer, “You guys came and grabbed me … for no reason.”
“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,” Watts, who is African American, wrote on her public Facebook page.
Watts told CNN the incident concluded when Lucas gave police her ID and a background check turned up nothing.
LAPD Capt. Stephen Carmona of the North Hollywood area station defended the officers, saying they were doing their due diligence when they detained Watts after she did not give them identification.
“That’s just basic police work. It could be a vandalism suspect in an alley,” Carmona said. “The vandalism may be done, but they’re still going to investigate the incident.”
Still, Carmona said the LAPD would fully investigate the allegations made by Watts and Lucas.
“We take all of these things really seriously, and we’re going to ask the hard questions,” Carmona said.
Watts and Lucas did not respond to Los Angeles Times requests for comment. Watts’ manager, Shepard Smith, declined to comment.
Staff writer Amina Kahn contributed to this article.
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