African American actress Daniele Watts - known for her role in Quentin Tarantino’s acclaimed film Django Unchained - has spoken out about being handcuffed and detained by police officers in Los Angeles who apparently assumed she was a prostitute after she was seen kissing her white husband and celebrity chef Brian James Lucas.
According to accounts on Facebook by Watts and Lucas, the incident began when a member of the public, apparently upset at the couple's public display of affection, called the police.
An officer demanded to see identification from the couple and when Watts refused, saying she was under no obligation to show it, she was handcuffed and placed in the back of a police car where she was questioned and released.
In a Facebook post, Watts shared a photograph of the encounter which occurred on Thursday, writing, "Today I was handcuffed and detained by 2 police officers from the Studio City Police Department after refusing to agree that I had done something wrong by showing affection, fully clothed, in a public place."
"As I was sitting in the back of the police car, I remembered the countless times my father came home frustrated or humiliated by the cops when he had done nothing wrong. I felt his shame, his anger, and my own feelings of frustration," wrote Watts.
She said the incident left her in tears, writing: "The tears I cry for a country that calls itself "the land of the free and the home of the brave" and yet detains people for claiming that very right."
Watts played Coco in 2012 blockbuster Django Unchained
Lucas also posted photographs of the encounter on his Facebook page, one highlighting a cut on Watt's wrist caused by handcuffs.
He wrote: "Today, Daniele Watts & I were accosted by police officers after showing our affection publicly. From the questions that he 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)."
The Los Angeles police department at first said there was no record of the incident because Watts wasn’t arrested or brought into the station for questioning. On Sunday a spokeswoman told the Guardian: “We are looking into it and hope to have more information possibly on Monday.”
Watts and Lucas in a series of pictures posted on Lucas' Facebook page
Watts made her film debut in the award-winning film Django Unchained acting alongside Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio and Christoph Waltz. She has also starred in American television comedy drama Weeds and now plays Martin Lawrence's on-screen daughter in comedy series Partners.
Images: Rex Features, Daniele Watts/Facebook