The LAPD is defending itself over a growing uproar over an officer’s detention and handcuffing of African-American Django Unchained actress Daniele Watts. In an exclusive interview with the LA Times, LAPD Sgt. Jim Parker, who responded to the call in Studio City, California, said he had no idea it would turn into such a huge drama. The police had been called over reports of a white man and an African-American woman engaging in lewd acts in a car.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Watts has said that she believes she was targeted and mistreated because of her race. The routine call escalated when Watts refused to identify herself and had to be handcuffed. She was with celebrity chef boyfriend Brian James Lucas at the time.
Sgt. Parker told the LA Times that the thought of her race “never crossed his mind,” and the couple matched a description of two people having sex in a parked car on the street.
The LA Times obtained a 24-minute audio recording, which was verified by a law enforcement source familiar with the incident, has the encounter. (warning, the audio contains obscenities).
“I figured I could take care of this call and go get coffee and that was it,” Parker said, and said that the encounter instead turned into a “long, drawn-out drama.”
The problems started with Watts refused to show her identification. “I was trying to ID them and leave – nobody wanted them arrested for having sex in public,” he said. “But then she went into her tirade.”
A spokesperson for the LAPD said that Daniele and her boyfriend matched the description of the man and the woman in the 911 call. In an interview with CNN, Watts said that her reason for refusing to give her identification was because “I believe in America and what it stands for.”
Legal experts told CNN that the officer had the right to ask for Daniele’s identification if they thought she was involved in illegal behavior. She and her boyfriend told CNN that they stood by their actions believed they had done nothing wrong.
“I still feel strongly like I didn’t have to,” she said. “I feel that it raises awareness. I’m thankful for the experience. Not to say that I feel like I have to go through it again. But it’s causing a lot of discussion.”
It could cause even more discussion if Watts has her way. She and her boyfriend have contacted the NAACP, the ACLU, and lawyers.
Daniele Watts is a native of Atlanta and played Coco in the Oscar-nominated Django Unchained in 2012 in her feature film debut.