LOS ANGELES, California — Daniele Watts, who played ‘Coco’ in the movie Django Unchained, was detained along with her boyfriend Brian Lucas by two Los Angeles police officers last week, after someone reportedly called 911 complaining that the couple had committed “indecent exposure” while making out in a silver Mercedes.
“Today I was handcuffed and detained by 2 police officers… after refusing to agree that I had done something wrong by showing affection, fully clothed, in a public place,” Watts posted to her Facebook account on Thursday as she informing the public of the incident that unfolded on Thursday.
“From the questions that [the cop] asked, I could tell [he] thought we were a HO [prostitute] and a TRICK [client],” her boyfriend Lucas also posted to his Facebook page.
The detainment occurred around 3 pm when a patrol officer and a sergeant from the North Hollywood Division reportedly responded to the call on the 11900 block of Ventura Boulevard in Studio City, according to the Los Angeles Times. They “located two individuals that matched the description of the suspects, and they were briefly detained,” authorities said.
Watts, who is African American, was dressed in patterned shorts, a t-shirt with a caricature of New York written on it, and sneakers. She had been on the phone with her father when she was approached by an officer and handcuffed a few minutes later.
Lucas, who is white, was also detained.
“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,” she wrote in her Facebook post. “I was sitting in that back of this cop car, filled with adrenaline, my wrist bleeding in pain, and it occurred to me, that even there, I STILL HAD POWER OVER MY OWN SPIRIT… My spirit was, and still is FREE.”
Police released a prepared statement in which they said: “Upon further investigation it was determined that no crime had been committed…Ms. Watts and her companion were subsequently released.” Police said an internal complaint investigation has been initiated regarding the incident, notes the Times.
Witnesses said Watts was not simply making out with her boyfriend in the vehicle. Rather, they said, the two were allegedly engaged in sex, with Watts clearly straddling Lucas while he was seated in the passenger-side seat of the car, according to the Daily Mail.
Nearby at the Director’s Guild, several passers by told police that they were watching Watts and Lucas getting it on while the door to the vehicle was wide open.
According to audio of the event apparently obtained by TMZ, after expressing to police that she believed her destiny of serving “love and freedom” to be in stark contrast with the officer’s destiny of serving “detainment,” Watts allegedly told the officer: “I hope you feel free…I hope when you’re fucking your spouses you really feel alive. That you feel thankful, full of gratitude for the freedom that you have, that you share with the people of this country.”
Lucas reportedly complied with authorities and handed over his ID, but Watts allegedly refused and was uncooperative with the officers, which resulted in her getting handcuffed. “I don’t have to give him my ID because it’s my right to sit on the fucking street corner and make out with my boyfriend! That’s my right!” reported Page Six.
Watts, at several points throughout the detainment accused the officers of racism: “Do you know how many times…the cops have been called… just because we’re black and he’s white,” she posited to the cops.
A clearly irate Watts reportedly shot back by making mention of her publicist, to which the officer apparently retorted with some sarcasm, “I’m mildly interested that you have a publicist…thank you for bringing up the race card. I’ve never heard that.”
Watts later reportedly confessed that she could have produced her ID sooner, which officers also said would have expedited the process, notes Page Six.
However, she still stuck to her guns in her belief that she should not have been questioned in the first place, as it was her “freedom” and right to act the way she did.
On Monday, she reportedly said in an interview with CNN that she feels that part of her “role as a public figure is to raise awareness and be strong enough to say and do the things that maybe people who don’t have the advantages that I have or aren’t strong enough…to do,” she said.
Last month, Hollywood television and film producer Charles Belk–who is also African-American–was handcuffed and detained in Beverly Hills while he was leaving a pre-Emmy party at a restaurant on Wilshire Boulevard. Police later said Belk had “fit the description” of a bank robber they were searching for: a “black male, tall, bald,” according to AFP.
Police officials later expressed regret, calling the incident “extremely unfortunate,” notes the Times.
Belk recounted the incident on his social media accounts as well as on television: “You can’t just haul off to jail the first ‘Black male’ you see that #FitTheDescription.”
This post has been updated.