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.”
“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.