The Los Angeles police sergeant who handcuffed and detained Django Unchained actress Daniele Watts last week is defending his treatment of the star, saying the situation escalated when she refused to give her name.
Watts and her celebrity chef boyfriend Brian James Lucas have contacted the NAACP and lawyers to review the incident. The two claim officers mistreated her because of her race, assuming she was a prostitute because she is black, and Lucas was a customer because he is white.
But Sgt. Jim Parker says otherwise, claiming that the thought “never crossed his mind.”
In an interview with The Times, Parker said he approached the couple because they matched a 911 caller’s description of two people having sex in a car parked on Radford Avenue.
“I figured I could take care of this call and go get coffee and that was it,” Parker said, calling the incident a “long, drawn-out drama.”
“I was trying to ID them and leave – nobody wanted them arrested for having sex in public,” he said. “But then she went into her tirade.”
Lucas and Watts, however, maintain that the officers were discriminative. In a CNN interview, Watts said she does not regret refusing to give her ID to Sgt. Parker.
“I still feel strongly like I didn’t have to,” she said. “I feel that it raises awareness. I’m thankful for the experience. Not to say that I feel like I have to go through it again. But it’s causing a lot of discussion.”
In a recording originally posted on TMZ, Watts and Parker can be heard discussing the reason for her arrest.
“Somebody called, which gives me the right to be here, so it gives me the right to identify you by law,” Parker said.
“Do you know how many times I’ve been called, the cops have been called just for being black?” Watts said. “Just because we’re black and he’s white? I’m just being really honest, sir.”
“Who brought up the race card?” Parker said.
“I’m bringing it up,” she said.
“I said nothing about you being black,” the sergeant responded. “Thank you for bringing up the race card,” Parker said. “I never hear that.”
Watts and Lucas insist they did nothing wrong. Eventually, police released Watts. No charges were filed.
For more on Watts’ arrest and her statement, click here.
SOURCE: LA TIMES | PHOTO CREDIT: Facebook