Watts Unchained: Civil Rights Leaders Denounce Actress After They Supported Her Claims of Racial Profiling in Detention By LAPD

1411228451636_Image_galleryImage_Django_Unchained_actress_There is an interesting backlash in California where civil rights leaders are condemning an African-American actress for alleging racism in her encounter with members of the Los Angeles Police Department. Actress Daniele Watts (who was in “Django Unchained”) accused the LAPD of detaining her and her boyfriend because they are a mixed race couple. Witnesses insisted that, in fact, they were having sex in a car in plain view on a street. An audio tape below has further undermined Watt’s claims of racism. She immediately claims that the only reason that they stopped them was race on the audiotape available here. In the midst of the tape, she freaks out in a conversation with her father but admits that they were “making out” in the course of the diatribe. In a true Hollywood moment, Watts is heard saying “I know my rights, I played a cop on TV and I know that when someone asks for ID you aren’t required to give it to them.”


After the incident, Watts went to Facebook and raised the call of racial profiling that was soon echoed by a wide variety of irate civil rights and community leaders demanding justice and firings of officers.

Watts wrote on her Facebook page that

“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. . . . A few minutes later, I was still talking to my dad when 2 different police officers accosted me and forced me into handcuffs. . . . 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.”

1410705374961_wps_2_Django_Unchained_actress_The man described as her husband but referred to by Watts as her boyfriend also wrote that

“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 H* (prostitute) & a TRICK (client). What an assumption to make!!! . . . So they handcuffed her and threw her roughly into the back of the cop car until they could figure out who she was. In the process of handcuffing her, they cut her wrist, which was truly NOT COOL!!!”

TMZ obtained the original complaint and pictures information from witnesses who said that the couple was making love with the door of their car open and continued despite someone actually leaving an office building to ask them to stop. Witnesses say that she was on top of her companion with her breasts exposed.

The LAPD maintained that the two were “involved in indecent exposure” in a silver Mercedes and Watts was detained until police determined no crime was committed after she refused her identification.

Civil rights leaders are calling on Daniele Watts to apologize to the Los Angeles Police Department after the black actress claimed she was racially profiled for kissing her white boyfriend in public.

The initial press was overwhelmingly in support of Watts and denounced the LAPD with various black leaders calling it a clear case of racial profiling. Now the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction with civil rights leaders denouncing Watts for what they say was a false profiling charge. Such criticism has come from leaders like Project Islamic Hope President Najee Ali, and Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable President Earl Ofari Hutchinson.

Watts, 28, has refused to apologize.

Activist Najee Ali insists that civil rights figures like herself have nothing to apologize for in denouncing the police: “We have nothing to be embarrassed about. She should be embarrassed. She’s the one that told the lie. She came and stated she’s a victim of racial profiling. We found out later on based on new information that she wasn’t.”

For his part, Hutchinson now admits that he was “outspoken” in denouncing the racial profiling before he looked at the pictures which “actually show that perhaps there was probable cause for the stop. There was probable cause for the detention.”

Hutchinson added a warning to Watts: “Don’t make us look dumb.” Of course, it was the unleashing of the race allegations without an investigation that made these leaders look dumb. There is real profiling out there and there is nothing wrong with raising an alarm over allegations of abuse. However, the account of an alleged victim cannot be treated as dispositive in fairness to the officers.

48 thoughts on “Watts Unchained: Civil Rights Leaders Denounce Actress After They Supported Her Claims of Racial Profiling in Detention By LAPD”

  1. David:

    That’s simply wrong. The standard for being detained is “Reasonable Articulable Suspicion”, “Probable Cause” is the standard for an arrest (or a warrant). What you are obligated to do once legally detained varies by state, only in states that have a specific law on the books requiring you to ID yourself once detained can you be compelled to ID yourself while only detained. In Nevada, you have to ID once detained, in California and Texas you don’t have to answer (they both HAD ID laws, but they were overturned).

    Police HATE that rule, and like to pretend that all states have stop and ID laws, but that doesn’t make it true.

    If your interested in learning about police detentions: Kolender v Lawson, Brown v Texas, Hiibel v Nevada, Terry v Ohio

    1. Liz, thanks for the lesson. I had no idea that California laws were so ambiguous on this issue.

      At first it was shocking to me that a person could be seen committing a crime, then put in handcuffs and placed in the back seat of a police car, and still not have to identify themselves. Now I learn that in California, the case can be made that the person does not have to identify themselves even if arrested and on their way down to be booked. The LAPD and prosecutor’s office still disagrees with that perspective, but the arguments are persuasive, that without a California law requiring it, she doesn’t have to do it.

      Thanks for the info.

  2. This is exactly why I denounce the media and public lynch mob that forms, on the streets, and on screens everywhere, the moment an allegation of racism or police misconduct is made.

    In this particular case, the cop was exonerated fully.

    However, what did civil rights leaders do when they first heard? Did they ask for all the facts? Oh, no. They asked for the firing of this innocent police officer whose life this selfish woman was trying to ruin.

    Shame on her, because every time this happens, it casts doubt on real victims of racism when they tell their story. This is not the first time this has happened to a cop, hence why he recorded their conversation.

    And shame on the civil rights leaders, and anyone else who immediately called for firings, rage, etc. Your first response every single time should be to research the facts as best you can. How hard would it have been for the media to interview the people in the office building to find out what happened?

    I am glad that many in the community are calling on her to apologize. But they also need to apologize to the cop for trying to get him fired without knowing the facts.

    1. Karen – sadly Al Sharpton didn’t have enough time to fly there to whip up the neighborhood.

  3. This is what happens when these guys pounce on every accusation when they have no proof of it. She should apologize in my view and so should those who blindly went along with her baseless accusation for jumping to such conclusions.

  4. If this was Ferguson the mob would have the Governor calling for an Indictment of the cops. She should be prosecuted for porking a shaved headed guy in public. They are both really ugly and need to stay off of TV or on magazines.

  5. For the record, she DIDN’T have to ID herself. California doesn’t have a stop and ID law, if you aren’t operating a motor vehicle they can’t force you to ID unless they’re issuing a citation or arresting you.

    As for accusing the cop of being racist… I’d say wearing an LAPD uniform is “probable cause” to believe that someone is a racist.

    1. Liz wrote: “For the record, she DIDN’T have to ID herself.”

      I think if the police suspect her of committing a crime, then she does have to identify herself. Only if there was no probable cause would she not have to ID herself.

  6. Olly, you and others conflate the Declaration of Independence with the Constitution. I don’t believe the Consitution mentions God or Nature. Our government is based on the Consitution, it’s the supreme law. It was a posited (positive) law by the founders. I don’t hold myself out to be an expert on this anymore than the next person. The “humility” which you keep mentioning might be your desire for me to say you are correct. Why would I say so if I think you were not? That would be dishonest. You simply haven’t proven your case, I’m sure you think I haven’t either, that’s perfectly OK.

  7. Exactly how is Obama different from bush and Cheney? Bush and cheney made up the law, EO, specifically Yoo signed off making bush and Cheney both war criminals with warrants for there arrest in Spain. Where the international court exists for war crimes.

  8. Oh my, but is this ever the time for an Irish Poem!

    Playing The Race Car???
    An Irish Poem by Squeeky Fromm

    There once was a gal in a car,
    Who got nabbed doing something bizarre!
    She claimed that the pigs
    Were just racist prigs,
    And besides, don’t they know, she’s a STAR!!!

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

    1. squeeky – very good poem. She did play both the star and the race card. She might lose on both.

  9. slohrss, If it has to do w/ the liberal agenda alternative media have to do the work, Drudge/Lewinsky, Edwards/Enquirer, Rice/TMZ, etc.

  10. “For his part, Hutchinson now admits that he was “outspoken” in denouncing the racial profiling before he looked at the pictures which “actually show that perhaps there was probable cause for the stop.”

    In other words….I take back my kneejerk reaction….THIS time because I got caught.

  11. TMZ reported that she cleaned herself with a tissue and threw it on the dash of the car before the cops stopped the action. This really is a case of a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. “I played a cop on TV and I know you don’t have to identify yourself.” Bull.

  12. You would think someone would do some investigative journalism. I would think it still sells. Funny TMZ is turning into a real alternative to the corporate/government network parrots.

  13. Typical for criminal defense, but what is typical within criminal legal procedure takes on different dimensions when unleashed in public discourse.

  14. And, Why is TMZ doing all the real investigative journalism now. They broke the Ray Rice story and other bombshells. These alleged investigative journalists sure the hell aren’t investigating the Obama administration. So, just what the hell are they doing??

  15. I commend the leaders for being forthright on this. There is a lot of flopping in our culture. Flopping was rampant in the NBA. It is where you fall down and act like you were fouled. To it’s credit, the NBA instituted increasing fines to stem this pernicious problem. This incident bodes well to end flopping in our culture. The playing victim casts a pall over TRUE victims. But, creating a culture where you find comfort in being a victim is very disturbing. Psychologists tell us those who overcome REAL tragedies are those who REFUSE to allow the tragedy to define them. We now have people looking for a tragedy and begging to have it define them.

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