LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Actress Daniele Watts, who made headlines when she claimed to be the victim of racial profiling by police, spoke to law students at USC on Monday night.
Watts and boyfriend Brian Lucas were questioned by officers investigating a report of lewd conduct in a parked car. Watts, who is black, refused to provide identification and became hysterical when she was briefly handcuffed until police identified her.
The incident went viral after she and Lucas claimed on their Facebook pages that the detention reflected racial profiling. She was charged with lewd conduct in public in October.
The majority of Watts’ forum Monday discussed sexuality and racism.
“You have to work twice as hard to get what the other, white girls in your class are going to just get handed to them,” Watts told students.
Watts says that due to a history of racial profiling, it caused her to react to the officer the way she did, and that she did not commit a crime.
“Like I’d like to say, is that what I said there, what I told the officer, is that I haven’t done anything wrong,” Watts said.
Watts, who claims that she and her boyfriend were simply kissing, received backlash from the community after a number of public leaders, including leaders of civil-rights groups who initially supported her position in the incident, stated that she “cried wolf.”
Audiotapes of the detainment were released, which initially lead to her claims of racial profiling to be questioned.
Monday’s discussion focused on how racism is still prevalent in today’s society.
“I think it’s a broader issue that deserves reflection and empathy,” Watts said.
The officer, meanwhile, was the subject of an internal investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department.
Watts and her boyfriend are expected in court Nov. 13.