The Corner

Django Actress Uses Hysterics, ‘Race Card,’ to Get Out of Police Encounter

Everyone gets their 15 minutes of fame, but presumably Daniele Watts thought hers would be her role in Django Unchained. As it happens, she’s garnered more attention for a bizarre run-in with Los Angeles law enforcement last week.

Watts initially said she was doing “nothing wrong” when she was detained last Thursday, September 11, by LAPD sergeant Jim Parker. According to Watts, she was “making out” with her boyfriend, Brian Lucas, in Lucas’s silver Mercedes when the officer accosted them. The couple claimed that Parker profiled Watts as a prostitute, since she is black and Lucas is white.

Police audio, obtained by TMZ, reveals Watts employing the full range of her theatrical talents to badger Parker. As he asks for her identification, noting that someone called police to report “lewd acts,” Watts replies: “Do you know how many times the cops have been called just because we’re black and he’s white?”

“Who brought up a race card?” Parker responds.

“I’m bringing it up.”

When the officer contests her claim that she has a right not to show identification, she tries another tack: “I have not done anything wrong. I’m on the phone with my father. My stepmom is dying.”

Near the end of the audio, she asks her “daddy” to talk to the policeman.

“Thank you for bringing up the race card,” says the officer, sarcastically, at one point. “I never hear that.”

Since her arrest, Watts has paraded the incident. On Thursday evening she posted to her Facebook page: 

I will continue to look any “authority figure” in the eye without fear. NO POLICE OFFICER OR GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL IS MORE POWERFUL THAN ME. WE ARE EQUALS. I KNOW THAT I WILL ALWAYS BE FREE BECAUSE THAT IS THE NATURE OF MY SPIRIT . . .

The tears I cry for a country that calls itself “the land of the free and the home of the brave” and yet detains people for claiming that very right.

However, it is clear that Watts was doing more than showing affection to her beau. To accompany the audio — in which Watts grows increasingly shrill until she finally stomps away, leaving Lucas to sigh in exasperation — TMZ also released photographs taken from the office building. They show Watts straddling her boyfriend, apparently having sex in the front seat of the vehicle, the passenger door and sunroof of which are open.

TMZ reported Monday that Watts plans to file a complaint against the LAPD.

Ian Tuttle — Ian Tuttle is the former Thomas L. Rhodes Journalism Fellow at the National Review Institute.

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