By Acadia Otlowski
Studio City police handcuffed and detained an African-American actress from “Django Unchained,” a movie that focuses on racism in the south during slavery, after she kissed her white husband in public.
Exactly why did this occur?
Allegedly, the officer mistook Danièle Watts, the actress, for a prostitute. Despite the fact that Watts was wearing a t-shirt and was fully-clothed at the time of the incident.
Watts took to the internet following the incident. She posted pictures of herself crying while handcuffed with a caption detailing her experience: “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,” read part of Watts’ post.
There is something wrong with the system when something like this occurs. It is not as if Watts had been out at 2 a.m., wearing something provocative. She was simply going about her daily life — something every American should have the right to do.
There was just one thing that Watts did in this situation that may have warranted any sort of action. She refused to show the officer her I.D. because she was so outraged by the incident. Although that may have been an incorrect move, it still does not account for officers handcuffing Watts and putting her into the back of a police cruiser.
LAPD has also made no real move to defend its actions. When asked about the incident, the department said that, because Watts was not arrested, nor questioned, no record of the encounter exists.
Except, of course, the photos of Watts.
This is cause for further alarm. If Watts was detained in this manner, who is to say that this sort of thing doesn’t happen regularly. And since there are no records of encounters such as this, there is no way to truly tell how big the issue is.
The only reason Watts was released so quickly is because officers realized that they had detained someone who was in the public eye. Perhaps, had she been an ordinary person, they would have eventually let her go once they realized she was actually married to the person she kissed. But it seems that, had Watts been an average person, this encounter with the authorities could have been far worse.
There is one other, alarming detail that many have picked up on. Watts’ husband, Brian James Lucas, was nearby when this incident occurred. He was actually questioned by the police and handed them his I.D. In his Facebook post about the incident, there is no mention of Lucas being handcuffed or detained in any manner.
Why wouldn’t he also be detained if it was suspected that Watts was a prostitute and he was either a client or a “pimp.” Isn’t soliciting prostitution a crime? Just because Lucas was cooperating doesn’t mean he shouldn’t have been a suspect of a crime.
This incident raises serious questions about racism in America. Just when it seems we have evolved beyond incidents such as this, an African American women gets detained for engaging in public displays of affection. What century is this? Based on LAPD rule, it is one where a woman cannot kiss her husband in public.