Headlines swirled when Django Unchained actress Danielle Watts was recently stopped by the Los Angeles police while with her white boyfriend in early September.
In a new op-ed piece for The Los Angeles Times, Watts offered her side of the tape, explaining why she refused to hand over her I.D. to the cop on-site and debunking reports that she and her beau were having sex in public. “He said he had received a call about a couple engaged in lewd conduct and asked for our IDs,” she wrote. “A few minutes before, 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.”
While she didn’t want her behavior to paint her as a “lawbreaker,” a racial profiling incident she experienced as a teen stayed with her. “When I was 16, my father was driving me home from a school play when we saw flashing lights,” she recalled. “We hadn’t been speeding. I remember my father asking the police officer what was wrong. The officer ignored his question and demanded identification.”
Today, Watts admits she could have been calmer but knows her actions speak volumes. “I objected—and I continue to object—because if we are unclear about our rights, and we continue to believe that in every case when a police officer tells you to do something, you have to do it, as I was told. We allow the police to abuse their power.”
Read the full piece here.