Django Unchained actress Daniele Watts made headlines after she accused the Los Angeles Police Department of racism and falsely detaining her in a lengthy post on Facebook.
According to her version of events, officers had approached her and her white boyfriend Brian James Lucas after they were seen “showing affection, fully clothed” in public. They handcuffed and held her in the back of a car after she refused to hand over her identification – an act, she claims, was unjust and typical of the racial profiling that exists in the police force.
She wrote: “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!!!!!!!”
Her boyfriend supported her claims in a similar post that included images of her wrist, having been injured from the apparent force of the handcuffs. She was not formally arrested, and was later released, a police spokesperson confirmed to Variety on Sunday (14 September).
But new audio footage purportedly of the altercation, obtained and published by TMZ from a "police source", indicates there may be more to the incident than her initial account, if the tape is genuine.
In it, police Sergeant Parker can be heard seemingly explaining to Watts’ boyfriend Lucas that he was answering complaints made by members of the public – including, according to TMZ’s report, a nearby Directors Guild office building – that the couple had been seen engaging in “lewd acts” in their car.
Watts had just left the CBS studios in the San Fernando Valley at 2pm on Thursday (11 September).
“Somebody’s made a call, and that gives me to be here. It gives me the right to ID you. By law,” Sgt Parker [the police officer] says.
“Do you know how many times the cops have been called just because we’re black? Just because we’re black and he’s white?” a female voice, reportedly that of Watts replies. “I’m just being really honest, sir.”
“Who brought up a race card?” Sgt Parker responds, before reiterating he has “every right” to ask for her identification.
Watts continues: “And I have every right to say no, and if you’d like to demand it, you can take me down to the court office and I can make a scene about it. And you know what, I have a publicist, and I work as an actress in that studio, OK?”
Sgt Parker: “I’m mildly interested that you have a publicist, but I am gonna get your I.D.”
Watts: “No. I am going to say ‘No’, and if you’d like to see my I.D. you can say that I am resisting arrest…”
Sgt Parker: “No, there is no resisting here, just interfering...”
Video: Django star arrested by LAPD
Watts then appears to become increasingly frustrated as she insists she has done nothing wrong and is on the phone to her father.
After she continues to refuse to hand over identification, Sgt Parker can he heard requesting a female officer.
Watts continues on the phone to her father, reiterating her “right to sit on the f**king street corner and make out with my boyfriend”.
“Thanks for bringing up the race card. We never hear that!” Sgt Parker says, adding: “Keep yelling, it really helps!”She then attempts to get Sgt Parker to speak to her father on speaker phone, but Sgt Parker refuses.
“He doesn’t want to listen, he doesn’t care,” she tells her father, before she says “I’m just gonna walk away…”
“I would already be gone, by the way,” Sgt Parker tells Lucas. “I’ve got your license. I would already be gone.”
The audio footage ends there, but TMZ’s report continues, adding that she was approached by another officer after she walked off, and brought back to Sgt Parker, where it is claimed she then lost her temper.
The report concludes by alleging Watts intends to file a legal complaint against the LAPD.
A spokesperson for Watts is yet to respond to request for comment.Reuse content