A retired Los Angeles police officer who gained notoriety for arresting Django Unchained actress Daniele Watts is now fighting to clear his name and hold onto a majority of his pension.
In September 2014, Los Angeles Police Dept. Sergeant Jim Parker was called to a San Fernando Valley office building after a passerby complained about a couple — Watts and her boyfriend, Brian Lucas — having sex in their car. When Parker confronted the pair, Watts began to act erratically and refused to comply with Parker’s request for proper identification. After she attempted to walk away from the scene, she was placed under arrest and ordered to sit on a nearby pillar while Parker and his partner questioned Lucas.
At that point, as noted by the Inquisitr, Watts began ranting about the arrest being racially motivated due to her being African-American and her boyfriend being Caucasian. After being released with a citation for lewd and lascivious conduct, she then took to her Facebook to make a public statement about the way she was allegedly treated by the arresting officers.
“I was handcuffed and detained by two police officers from the Studio City Police Department after refusing to agree that I had done something wrong,” she said, as mentioned by the Washington Post, “[for] showing affection, fully clothed, in a public place.”
Daniele’s boyfriend, Lucas, would follow suit with photos of the incident attached to his own telling of events later that day via his Facebook profile.
“Our freedom isn’t freedom, folks,” he proclaimed, “when people can abuse others with no reason or evidence at all just because they ‘think’ they have been given the power by people that are only equal to us. Of course, they had to let her go eventually [because] we weren’t a threat to anyone.”
Watts and Lucas would go on to plead no contest to a lessened disturbing the peace charge, which, in turn, led to the lewd conduct charge being dropped. They were also ordered to write apology letters to Lucas, the LAPD, and to the citizens who first called for police assistance.
After the story was picked up by the media, Parker, who had been branded as a racist due to Watts and Lucas’ contentious claims, released the audio tape of the arrest to TMZ, which proved he had gone “by the book” with the arrest and, in turn, cleared him of all wrongdoing on the public front. TMZ even went out of its way to back him up by sharing photos from witnesses that clearly displayed Watts straddling Lucas in a very provocative matter. Unfortunately, despite all the proof, the Los Angeles Ethics Commission ended up feeling quite differently about Parker’s bold attempt to protect himself.
According to a Los Angeles Times article from September 2015, Parker would go on to find himself charged with violating confidentiality by releasing the audio without authorization. He was then ordered to take part in a disciplinary hearing for what authorities claimed was insubordination on his behalf by speaking to the media about the ordeal without permission. Rather than take the heat, however, he resigned from his 26-year-long post with the LAPD in June 2016.
At a hearing for the incident this past Monday, which was reported on by TMZ, Parker admitted that he did indeed leak the audio of Watts’ arrest to the gossip site, but he only did so due to his superiors not defending his honor at a time when it was greatly needed. The Commission’s Board then offered Parker a deal: pay a quarter of the normal $10,000 fine ($2500) for his actions or go to trial, where he could ultimately lose and pony up the full amount. Parker has decided to go for the latter option.
“I’ve never, ever seen [anything like] this,” Parker’s attorney, Larry Hanna, fumed to the Los Angeles Times last year. “For some reason, they’re being very vindictive against this [particular] officer.”
Parker and Watts have yet to comment on this latest turn of events.
[Image via Brian Watts/Facebook]