Django Unchained star Daniele Watts broke her silence in a Los Angeles Times op-ed over the weekend, blaming an encounter with police when she was a teenager for her recent clash with the Los Angeles Police Department in which she pulled the “race card.”
Watts described the incident, which she claims prompted her to react in the way she did, as an encounter with police when she was 16 that left her father “disturbed:”
We had been stopped for no reason, and he was powerless to stop the questioning or protect me from the officer’s judgments. As we drove off, I asked my dad why he had given up his license when he had done nothing wrong. He gently explained to me what so many African Americans of his generation know too well: “You don’t want to mess with the police. They can judge you unfairly and make life very hard.”
Watts was briefly detained by the LAPD earlier this month after refusing to furnish her ID, following local calls to 911 from citizens complaining that she and her partner celebrity chef, Brian James Lucas, were engaged in “lewd acts” and indecent exposure. Images surfaced showing Watts in a compromising position, straddling her partner James Brian Lucas while he was seated in the passenger’s-side seat of a silver Mercedes Benz in broad daylight.
Watts’ only admission in the op-ed was that she could have been “calmer” and “more patient” when Sgt. Jim Parker asked her for her ID. As for whether or not she was incorrect in pulling the “race card” with authorities, Watts said:
Do I think the officer was “racially profiling” me by answering a call? I know police have to answer calls for service. But does that render invalid my initial question to the sergeant–“Do you know how many times the cops have been called…because I’m black and he’s white?”
Last week, Watts refused to apologize to the LAPD, despite calls from several well-known civil rights activists who had called Watts out for “crying wolf.” Her publicist also stated that Watts would not be pursuing the case any further. LAPD Sgt. Jim Parker, who had briefly detained Watts, called the actress’s race allegations and the LAPD’s subsequent investigation into the matter “disgusting.”
However, Watts has remained adamant about her refusal to provide authorities with her ID. “I objected–and I continue to object,” Watts wrote. She said that handing over her ID to Sgt. Parker would have “denied the efforts” of people who have “throughout history struggled and even died to secure” the rights that we have today. “And I would have turned my back on the 16-year-old who watched her father endure an unfair and humiliating stop by the police.”
Watts’ full op-ed can be read by clicking here.