Civil rights leaders are calling on Daniele Watts to apologize to the Los Angeles Police Department after the black actress claimed she was racially profiled for kissing her white boyfriend in public.
Project Islamic Hope President Najee Ali, Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable President Earl Ofari Hutchinson and other civil rights leaders held a meeting Friday morning, denouncing the “Django Unchained” actress and demanding she apologize to the community, a local CBS affiliate reported.
Ms. Watts, 28, was detained by officers responding to an indecent exposure call on Sept. 11 in Studio City.
Police said they had received several calls about a couple engaging in lewd behavior in a parked vehicle. Ms. Watts said they were only kissing and claimed officers accused her of being a prostitute because she is black and her boyfriend is white.
The story made national headlines, with civil rights leaders calling it a blatant act of racial profiling.
But audio recorded by a sergeant captured Ms. Watts refusing to give her identification and arguing with the officers. TMZ also released photos that appeared to show the actress straddling her boyfriend in the passenger seat of a car with the door open. An eyewitness told TMZ that Ms. Watts’ bare breasts were exposed.
“We have nothing to be embarrassed about,” activist Najee Ali told the CBS affiliate. “She should be embarrassed. She’s the one that told the lie. She came and stated she’s a victim of racial profiling. We found out later on based on new information that she wasn’t.”
Mr. Hutchinson said this has been a teaching moment for him.
“I was one that was very outspoken about it,” he told a local NBC affiliate. “We take racial profiling very seriously. It’s not a play thing. It’s not trivial.”
“We began to see pictures that actually show that perhaps there was probable cause for the stop. There was probable cause for the detention,” he said. “You must have your facts. You can’t rush to judgment. If you do that, you have no credibility.”
“It’s like crying wolf,” he added. “After a while, it has no meaning.”