LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck is defending the actions of the sergeant and officers involved in the handcuffing of an actress who has accused police of racial profiling.
“Django Unchained” actress Daniele Watts and her boyfriend Brian Lucas were stopped at Ventura Boulevard and Radford Avenue in Studio City around 3 p.m. Sept. 11 after police say they received several calls of a couple was having sex in a parked car. The couple said they were merely showing affection.
Speaking out for the first time on the case Tuesday in downtown L.A., Beck said there is an open investigation; however, based on his review of the audio and witness statements, he said, officers acted exactly as he would have wanted them to.
“So many times in any human interaction, it comes down to what a person says against another,” Beck told KCAL9’s Serene Branson.
An audio file recorded by the sergeant captured him asking for Watts’ identification and Watts refusing to give it, saying officers were giving her a hard time because she is black and her boyfriend white.
In California, there is no absolute requirement to carry or provide identification upon demand.
“However, if you are being investigated for another offense and your identity is important to the investigation of the offense, then you must by state law comply with the legal officers and the legal authority of the officer, which is to request your I.D.,” Beck said.
Peter Bibling of the ACLU Southern California says the organization’s members are concerned over the case.
“We disagree with that,” Bibling said. “Courts have been clear that people can’t be arrested for failing to produce identification. They cannot be searched for identification just merely because they are suspected of some crime.”
KCAL9 was unable to reach Watts, her manager or Lucas for comment.
However, Lucas tweeted Tuesday night they have been in contact with three attorneys, the NAACP and the ACLU.