The Corner

Civil-Rights Leaders Want Django Actress to Apologize for Playing Race Card with LAPD

Some of Danièle Watts’s initial defenders are now calling on the actress to apologize for claiming she was recently detained due to racial profiling. New evidence of the incident, and the events preceding it, has some civil-rights leaders saying Watts was “crying wolf” on the matter.

Watts, who most famously appeared in Django Unchained, made headlines last week after posting on Facebook that she was detained by the Los Angeles Police Department because she was mistaken as a prostitute while with her boyfriend. She spoke with and appeared on a number of media outlets, saying police made the assumption since she is black and her boyfriend is white.

But TMZ later uncovered audio of Watts refusing to cooperate with the officer who arrived on the scene, who was responding to a 911 phone call that the couple was allegedly having sex in public. TMZ also published photographs showing her straddling her boyfriend in a car with the door open.

The apparent lewd behavior and Watts’s conduct now has some of her one-time allies backtracking.

“I was one that was very outspoken about it,” Earl Ofari Hutchinson, the president of the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable and who initially came to Watts’s defense, said at a press conference on Friday. “We take racial profiling very seriously. It’s not a play thing. It’s not trivial.”

“It’s like crying wolf,” he continued. “After awhile, it has no meaning.”

Project Islamic Hope president Najee Ali, who was also at the press conference, said Watts misled the group and should apologize.

“She came and stated she’s a victim of racial profiling,” she said. “We found out later on based on new information that she wasn’t.”

But Watts is sticking by her story, at least somewhat. In a statement refusing to apologize, she maintains the officer made “overtly racist and sexist remarks,” but focuses more on the fact that she was asked to present identification without being charged with a crime, violating the Fourth Amendment.

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