An African-American actress who claimed her rights were violated when she was arrested by police after a bystander saw her kissing her white husband in a parked car has been charged with a misdemeanor count of lewd conduct in a public place.
In September, two Los Angeles Police Department officers arrested Daniele Watts, who appeared in “Django Unchained,” after she refused to present her ID. In a Facebook post on Sept. 11, Watts said she was wrongfully handcuffed and detained by two officers after “refusing to agree that I had done something wrong by showing affection, fully clothed, in a public place” with her husband, celebrity chef Brian Lucas.
The celebrity gossip website TMZ claimed to obtain photographs from the encounter and alleged that they depict the couple having sex inside a vehicle. Since then, this assertion has been repeated by several other media outlets. But Watts continues to deny the allegations.
“Brian and I had been making out in his car; I was sitting on his lap. We were not having sex, and both of us had our clothes on,” Watts wrote in an op-ed for The Los Angeles Times last month.
Lucas, 43, was also charged with a count of lewd conduct. If convicted, the couple faces up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. They are slated for arraignment on Nov. 13.
Following the incident, the LAPD confirmed that officers had responded to an “indecent exposure” complaint in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Studio City involving a man and a woman inside a silver Mercedes, which led to the couple’s brief detainment.
The incident began a conversation about when a resident stopped by police must present ID. California law, for example, doesn’t allow people to be arrested for not showing ID during a police stop, unless they are driving a vehicle.
“We have rights because people throughout history struggled and even died to secure them. If I had handed over my ID, I would have denied their efforts,” Watts wrote in the op-ed.
Watts, 28, has also appeared in the TV series “How I Met Your Mother,” “Weeds,” and “Private Practice.”