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African-American actress Danièle Watts claims she was “handcuffed and detained” by police officers from the Studio City Police Department in Los Angeles on Thursday after allegedly being mistaken for a prostitute.
According to accounts by Watts and her husband Brian James Lucas, two police officers mistook the couple for a prostitute and client when they were seen showing affection in public. When the officers asked Watts to produce a photo ID when questioned, she refused. Watts was subsequently handcuffed and placed in the back of a police cruiser while the officers attempted to figure out who she was. The two officers released Watts shortly afterwards.
Watts, who played CoCo in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained and currently stars in Martin Lawrence vehicle Partners, posted an account of the incident on her Facebook page:
Watt’s husband Brian Lucas, who is white, claimed that the two were targeted by police for being an interracial couple. In a seperate post on his Facebook page, Lucas said that “from the questions that [police] 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).”
An Los Angeles PD public information officer told Variety that “there was no record of the incident as Watts wasn’t arrested or brought into the station for questioning.”
Sadly, this isn’t the first time something like this has happened. In 2008, a Galveston, Texas couple sued three police officers who arrested and beat their 12-year-old daughter after mistaking her for a prostitute.