Retired Los Angeles police Sgt. Jim Parker — who made national news after arresting Django Unchained actress Daniele Watts for lewd behavior in 2014 and who was accused of racism by the actress during the incident — faces a $10,000 fine for leaking audio from the arrest to gossip outlet TMZ.
Actress Daniele Watts, who is black, was arrested in September 2014 after a bystander called the police complaining about a couple having sex in a parked car near CBS Studios in the San Fernando Valley. Watts, as heard on police audio, repeatedly refused to hand over her identification to Sgt. Parker. Watts also accused Officer Parker of racially profiling her, because her boyfriend is white.
Parker was charged with violating confidentiality by releasing the audio to the tabloid news outfit without authorization, according to the Los Angeles Times. The officer was order to participate in a disciplinary hearing over what authorities called insubordination, which stemmed from Parker’s decision to share information with the press without permission. Parker, however, resigned from the LAPD in June 2016 after serving on the force for 26 years.
During a hearing on Monday, Parker admitted to leaking the audio of Watts’ arrest to TMZ. The retired officer said he passed the audio onto the press in an effort to clear his name, stating that his superiors failed to support him during the controversy.
The L.A. Ethics Commission’s Board offered Parker to pay a quarter of the fine ($2,500) for leaking the audio or go to trial, where he could be forced to pay the full $10,000 penalty. Parker has insisted on taking his case to trial, according to TMZ.
“I’ve never, ever seen [anything like] this,” Parker’s attorney, Larry Hanna, told the Los Angeles Times last October. “For some reason, they’re being very vindictive against this [particular] officer.”
Watts and her boyfriend were charged with lewd conduct. The couple ultimately pled no contest to disturbing the peace. They were also ordered to perform 40 hours of community service and write apology letters to the officers they accused of racism, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Neither Parker nor Watts have yet commented publicly on Parker’s fine.