Daniele Watts has been accused of playing the race card after refusing to hand over identification to Los Angeles police officers who detained her last week. But boyfriend Brian James Lucas has defended her actions, explaining she’s been subjected to similar treatment on several occasions.
“[This] was the third time in the past few months that [Daniele] and I have had to deal with cops profiling a ‘black and white couple,'” he said Wednesday in a Facebook statement.
On Sept. 11, the “Django Unchained” actress made headlines when law enforcement, allegedly responding to reports of “lewd acts,” stumbled across Watts and Lucas getting intimate in one of their vehicles in Studio City.
Officers insisted she hand over her I.D. while allegedly accusing her of prostitution, but she refused and was temporarily detained. Investigators later determined no crime had been committed, but Watts was upset over how she was treated and took to social media to explain her side of the story.
Lucas — a celebrity chef — agrees his girlfriend played the race card after being wrongfully detained, but feels it was completely justified.
In his Facebook statement he explained it wasn’t the first time she and Watts had been the targets of racial profiling by law enforcement — it wasn’t even the second.
The first occurrence, he said, happened when police pulled them over while she was driving a luxury automobile. “The officer wouldn’t even look D in the eye,” Lucas said. “He would only speak to me, looking past her, as I sat in the passengers seat. It was obvious to me that he saw a black woman driving a Mercedes and profiled her.”
Lucas went on to say the officer said he stopped them because of “a lot of robberies in the area,” and eventually let them go on their way.
He says the second incident of racial profiling occurred while he and Watts were outside of his father’s home in Loma Linda, Calif. Lucas says neighbors called the cops to report “a ‘suspicious black and white couple’ was loitering in the area,” even though they were just going through storage boxes outside of his dad’s garage.
The police officer who responded allegedly then asked Watts for identification, again citing “a lot of robberies in the area.” Watts declined to hand it over, but, unlike in Studio City on Sept. 11, Lucas says “the officer had to drive away recognizing [Daniele and I] had done nothing wrong.”
“It hurts me to see the person I love the most in the world have to deal with this,” he added in his Facebook post. “As the LA Times and ACLU have said in the past few days, Daniele had every right not to show her ID!
“California does not have a stop and identify statute,” Lucas continued. “According to California State Law, to investigate a potential arrest for lewd behavior (which is a misdemeanor), Sgt. Parker would have had to seen us in the middle of the lewd act or had talked to a witness at the scene of the alleged crime. He did neither.”
TheWrap spoke with Dr. David Horne on Wednesday, acting chair of the Department of Africana Studies at California State University Northridge, and he explained Watts may have been in the right to have refused to cooperate with police, but by going public with her complaints she’s also risking her own credibility.
“She has tapped into a general complaint and a complaint that has legitimacy,” he said. But Horne added if Watts’ insistence that she was not having sex on a public street turns out to be untrue, “her own credibility is now going to be in the toilet.”
Read Lucas’ full Facebook statement below:
“Just to give some context to people’s accusations that D was “pulling the race card” unjustifiably….
What we experienced this past Thursday, September 11 was the THIRD time in the past few months that D and I have had to deal with cops profiling a “black and white couple.” This is the THIRD time, an officer has realized his error and had to let us go because we weren’t breaking any laws.
The first time the officer wouldn’t even look D in the eye. He would only speak to me, looking past her, as I sat in the passengers seat. It was obvious to me that he saw a black woman driving a Mercedes and profiled her. He ran my ID, because D upheld her right to remain silent, and after holding us up on the excuse that they had to identify any “suspicious characters” because “there had been a lot of robberies in the area” he let us go realizing that we weren’t causing problems for anyone.
The last time, was in Loma Linda, CA, at my father’s home. D and I were standing outside the garage, going through our storage and someone called the cops reporting that a “suspicious black and white couple” was loitering in the area and that there may have been a potential robbery.
The officer tried to demand that D hand over her ID because “there had been a lot of robberies in the area.” She declined. And the officer had to drive away recognizing that we had done nothing wrong, and that a prejudiced neighbor had called the cops without just cause.
It hurts me to see the person I love the most in the world have to deal with this. D and I have joked that if she was ever in a position where she had to stand up for her rights again, that I would play along with the officers and do my best to expose any racist, sexist attitudes, or profiling. I have had a LONG history of dealing with law enforcement and being targeted for being a free spirited being that some would consider a hippie. I’ve learned to play along with cops when they’re making assumptions about me.
So when Sgt. Parker approached with his condescending attitude, I knew that if I had tried to stand up for her rights, or argue with him on her behalf, it wouldn’t help expose the unfairness of the situation. If you listen closely to the TMZ audio, you can tell that he’s comfortable around me (because he thinks I’m on his side), which exposes several comments that display his abuse of power: “she needs to learn that she doesn’t dictate what happens,” …”She’s just trying to get at me” “She’ll learn her lesson” etc etc.
As the LA Times and ACLU have said in the past few days, Daniele had every right NOT to show her ID!!! California does not have a stop and identify statute. According to California State Law, to investigate a potential arrest for lewd behavior (which is a misdemeanor), Sgt Parker would have had to seen us in the middle of the lewd act, OR had talked to a witness at the scene of the alleged crime. He did neither. He also did not tell us he was charging us with a crime. Daniele had her clothes on the whole time, and when the officer arrived, she was standing outside of the car… clearly not engaging in anything that would threaten the safety of the people around her. WHEN IT COMES DOWN TO IT, ITS VERY CLEAR THAT WHOEVER CALLED WAS MAKING A BIASED ASSUMPTION ABOUT OUR BEHAVIOR, AND THAT SGT. PARKER WAS TRYING TO BULLY HER INTO GIVING UP HER CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS!
The LAPD has gone on record saying “NO CRIME WAS COMMITTED” … So if people want to continue trying to make us feel bad for the love and affection we shared in our car that day, we will just keep sending them love and praying for the light of truth to touch the souls of the people in this nation.”