UPDATE: Sept. 16 -- In a press release Sunday, LAPD said officers were responding to a radio call of "indecent exposure". A "concerned citizen" had called police to report "that a male and a female were involved in indecent exposure inside a Silver Mercedes with the vehicle door open," the press release states. After authorities questioned actress Daniele Watts and her boyfriend, Brian James Lucas, it was "determined that no crime had been committed." Both were released.
The Los Angeles Times interviewed LAPD Sgt. Jim Parker, who responded to the call. He said race was never a factor and only wanted the couple's IDs for identification purposes.
"Django Unchained" star Daniele Watts claims she was unlawfully detained by police Thursday after they saw her kissing her white boyfriend in a car and allegedly mistook her for a prostitute.
In a Facebook post dated Sept. 11, Watts wrote that she was "handcuffed and detained" by two Studio City police officers in Los Angeles that day after refusing to show her ID.
Here's how Watts describes the alleged incident on Facebook:
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.
When the officer arrived, I was standing on the sidewalk by a tree. I was talking to my father on my cell phone. I knew that I had done nothing wrong, that I wasn’t harming anyone, so I walked away.
A few minutes later, I was still talking to my dad when 2 different police officers accosted me and forced me into handcuffs.
Watts, who plays Martin Lawrence's daughter on the FX show "Partners" and has also appeared on "Weeds" and "How I Met Your Mother," says the incident reminded her of her father's experiences with racial profiling.
"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. I felt his shame, his anger, and my own feelings of frustration for existing in a world where I have allowed myself to believe that 'authority figures' could control my BEING… my ability to BE!!!!!!!" she wrote on Facebook.
Watts' boyfriend, celebrity chef Brian James Lucas, shared a similar account of the incident. Lucas clarified with Buzzfeed, however, that the police never explicitly called Watts a prostitute. Instead, he said, the officers repeatedly questioned if Lucas "really knew" Watts and made other comments filled with "innuendo.”
In a Sept. 11 Facebook post, Lucas wrote: "From the questions that he asked me as D was already on her phone with her dad, 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 HO (prostitute) & a TRICK (client)."
Watts was released from police custody shortly after being put in the back of the police car. It appears, however, that she did not leave unscathed. A photo on Lucas' Facebook shows cuts on Watts' skin allegedly left from the handcuffs.
Buzzfeed reports that the LAPD claimed not to have a record of the incident, which the police department said is not unusual in police encounters where no arrests are made.
Though Watts and Lucas were deeply affected by the incident, they both took the opportunity to show their resilience and optimism.
"Today I exist with courage, knowing that I am blessed to have experienced what I did today. All of those feelings, no matter how uncomfortable. These feelings are what builds my internal strength, my ability to grow through WHATEVER may happen to me," Watts wrote on Facebook.
According to the celebrity news site The YBF, the couple is in contact with lawyers, the ACLU and the NAACP about the incident.