“Django Unchained” actress Daniele Watts is refusing to apologize to the Los Angeles Police Department despite backlash from critics and “overtly racist and sexist remarks” on social media.
“When I was forced into handcuffs, the detaining officer cited this as his reason: ‘My supervisor said that you, he ordered you to stay and you left, so that’s why we pulled over — and that’s why you’re being detained,'” she said in a statement given to TheWrap. “This is simply not true.”
As TheWrap previously reported, Watts was confronted by LAPD officers last week while she was in her car with her boyfriend Brian James Lucas. The officers were dispatched to the scene after someone called 911 reporting two people were engaging in “lewd acts” in a parked car near CBS Studios in the Studio City neighborhood of L.A.
Police asked her for identification and, when she refused to hand it over, critics accused her of playing the race card. Her boyfriend defended her actions, however, explaining Watts had been wrongfully subjected to similar treatment on several occasions.
“California does not have a stop and identify statute. As a citizen of this country, under the 4th amendment, it is a constitutional right that we do not have to present ID to any member of law enforcement unless we are being charged with a crime,” continued Watts in Friday’s statement. “There was never an actual charge made against me.”
Her statement came in response to local civil rights leaders denouncing the actress at a news conference earlier in the day in Inglewood. Project Islamic Hope President Najee Ali, Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable President Earl Ofari Hutchinson and other local Black leaders, who had previously supported the actress, denounced her and demanded she apologize to the LAPD.
“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,” Najee Ali said. “We didn’t make a rush to judgment. We came to aid a victim who we thought was victimized. For us, she’s wrong. That’s why we’re demanding Daniele Watts apologize.”
Read Daniele Watt’s full statement below.
“In response to the ‘demands’ that I should apologize to the LAPD, I say this:
When I was forced into handcuffs, the detaining officer cited this as his reason: ‘My supervisor said that you, he ordered you to stay and you left, so that’s why we pulled– and that’s why you’re being detained.’
This is simply not true.
Sgt. Parker did not order me to stay. If you listen carefully to the police audio, you will recognize that I inform the officer that I am walking away, and he has no response.
California does not have a stop and identify statute. As a citizen of this country, under the 4th amendment, it is a constitutional right that we do not have to present ID to any member of law enforcement unless we are being charged with a crime.
There was never an actual charge made against me.
All of this can be confirmed by the police audio.
All this being said, and despite the overtly racist and sexist remarks that continue to show up on our respective Facebook pages, and all over the internet, I feel blessed and appreciative for the opportunity to have started this clearly topical discussion about our shared constitutional liberties.”