Daniele Watts was “handcuffed and detained” by police in Los Angeles after being mistaken for a prostitute. Watts caught attention of police while kissing her husband Brian James Lucas on the sidewalk, leading to their questioning and eventual detention.
Watts and Lucas were asked for their IDs, which Watts refused on grounds that she had done nothing wrong, which led to the incident both described via separate posts on Facebook:
Today I was handcuffed and detained by 2 police officers from the Studio City Police Department after refusing to agree that I had done something wrong by showing affection, fully clothed, in a public place.
When the officer arrived, I was standing on the sidewalk by a tree. I was talking to my father on my cell phone. I knew that I had done nothing wrong, that I wasn’t harming anyone, so I walked away.
A few minutes later, I was still talking to my dad when 2 different police officers accosted me and forced me into handcuffs.
As I was sitting in the back of the police car, I remembered the countless times my father came home frustrated or humiliated by the cops when he had done nothing wrong. I felt his shame, his anger, and my own feelings of frustration for existing in a world where I have allowed myself to believe that “authority figures” could control my BEING… my ability to BE!!!!!!!
Lucas provides a bit more detail of what happened before the handcuffs in his statement, painting a picture that seems to be a common occurrence for many in this country:
From the questions that he asked me as D was already on her phone with her dad, I could tell that whoever called on us (including the officers), saw a tatted RAWKer white boy and a hot bootie shorted black girl and thought we were a HO (prostitute) & a TRICK (client).
This is something that happened to her and her father when she was 16. What an assumption to make!!!
Because of my past experience with the law, I gave him my ID knowing we did nothing wrong and when they asked D for hers, she refused to give it because they had no right to do so.
So they handcuffed her and threw her roughly into the back of the cop car until they could figure out who she was. In the process of handcuffing her, they cut her wrist, which was truly NOT COOL!!!
Both attached photos to their posts and numerous media outlets have covered the story since it occurred this past Thursday. This is the second such incident in LA within the past few months. In light of Watts’ encounter, producer Charles Belk posted about his own incident from the tail end of August on his Facebook page. Indiewire summed it up, but definitely read the entire thing:
In short, the 51-year-old producer stepped out of a pre-Emmys event he was attending, to check the meter where he was parked, on the afternoon of August 22, in Beverly Hills, when he was accosted, handcuffed and detained for 6 hours by Beverly Hills police. Why? Because he looked like a burglary suspect. He “fit the description,” as the long-running saying goes.
There’s no official record of these incidents due to no arrests being made, but it all raises even more questions about law enforcement practices in this nation. One hand warrants to sort of behavior and the public sometimes demands it in the name of safety and in light of other events. But at the same time, police seem to be granted an incredible amount of space within the law and take advantage of it.
Would wearable cameras fix these sort of problems? Will other technology come to offer aid to law enforcement, such as face recognition technology? We could all speculate, but right now these things are happening and talking about it is the best any of us seem to be able to do.