LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — An actress detained by Los Angeles police last month has been charged with lewd conduct for allegedly having sex in her boyfriend’s car outside the CBS Studio Center in Studio City, authorities said.
Daniele Watts, 28, and boyfriend Brian James Lucas were each charged with one count of lewd conduct, according to the City Attorney’s office.
Each charge carries a maximum sentence of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
An arraignment was scheduled for Nov. 13.
Watts and Lucas were questioned by officers along the 11900 block of Ventura Boulevard who were investigating a report of lewd conduct in a parked car.
Watts refused to provide identification and was briefly handcuffed until police identified her.
The incident went viral after Lucas, who is white, and Watts, who is black, claimed on their Facebook pages the detention reflected racial profiling. Watts said she felt she was treated like a prostitute.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson, who initially rallied behind the actress, said she “cried wolf” in this instance.
“I was one that was very outspoken about it,” he told reporters. “We take racial profiling very seriously. It’s not a play thing. It’s not trivial.”
The “Django Unchained” actress made no mention of race in her statement, but she maintained she wasn’t obligated to present identification to police.
“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,” she said.
CBS2/KCAL9’s Kristine Lazar spoke with Sgt. Jim Parker, who was one of the responding officers. Parker released his own audio recording of the incident after Watts claimed she was profiled.
“I think it vindicates exactly what we’ve said all along,” he said of the charges. “We had a reason for being there. Multiple persons witnessed the activity.”
Parker said he believes Watts would not have been detained and would not be facing the charge had she agreed to hand over her driver’s license.
“It’s a lesson, yeah. The lesson is it’s better to cooperate than to confront officers when they’re there for a legitimate reason. And if you don’t feel it’s legitimate then you take your complaint later to the station,” he said.
The sergeant is now in hot water with the LAPD for releasing the audio recording to the media.
Internal affairs is investigating and Parker believes he will ultimately be fired for what he says is retaliation for speaking out when the LAPD remained quiet.
“If they had been more forthright in releasing the information right away, this would have been a non-story,” he said.
Watts and Lucas released the following written statement to CBS2/KCAL9 through a representative: “We are, quite frankly, appalled and disturbed that the LA prosecutors office has chosen to file these charges against us. The LAPD has previously issued a statement saying that there was no crime committed. If a passionate public embrace while displaying no nudity is grounds for having charges filed against you, then we’d expect that everyone who engages in an extended public display of affection with their loved one will be targeted as well. Sergeant Parker is still under investigation for his conduct and filing misdemeanor charges against us does not change his behavior.”
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