Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck is defending the actions of officers who briefly detained and questioned an actress who had a part in the film "Django Unchained" following reports that she was "involved in a lewd act" in a parked car.
Daniele Watts wrote on her Facebook page that she was “humiliated” and forced into handcuffs by two LAPD officers for publicly showing affection to her significant other, Brian James Lucas. Her post, which went viral along with video and photos of the incident, suggested that she was racially profiled.
"Daniele Watts was stopped for kissing while black," activist Najee Ali said.
But Beck said the officers did what they were supposed to do – respond to a report of indecent exposure.
"The officers made no selection, the officers were directed to that location because a citizen observed what they believed to be a crime and called the police department,” Beck said.
Watts told NBC News Sunday that she and her partner were kissing inside their car at the CBS lot when they were approached by a man in a suit who asked them to leave because "employees were distracted." The couple stopped after a few minutes and police arrived shortly after, Watts said.
An audio recording of the incident reveals that Sgt. Jim Parker told Watts that someone called police, and that gave him the right to be there and identify her.
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The dispatch call described a black female, wearing a white shirt and floral shorts, “involved in a lewd act” in a vehicle with the door open. Police approached Watts because she matched the description.
When asked for identification, Watts refused and walked away. She was then detained.
"The decision to detain, investigate further, and then release, is well within the bounds of a policing and the authority of police in the state of California,” Beck said.
Watts has formally filed a personnel complaint.