Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.


'Django Unchained' Actress Handcuffed For Public Displays Of Affection With Her Boyfriend

Actress Daniele Watts handcuffed and being interrogated by an LAPD officer (photo via Brian Lucas' Instagram)
Support your source for local news!
Today, put a dollar value on the trustworthy reporting you rely on all year long. The local news you read here every day is crafted for you, but right now, we need your help to keep it going. In these uncertain times, your support is even more important. We can't hold those in power accountable and uplift voices from the community without your partnership. Thank you.

Daniele Watts, an actress best known for a role in Django Unchained, was handcuffed and detained on Thursday after LAPD officers seemed to think she was a prostitute because of a few public displays of affection with her boyfriend.

Watts and her boyfriend Brian Lucas, a raw food chef who goes by the name Chef Be*Live, were getting cozy in Lucas' car parked just outside of the CBS Studio Center in Studio City. A man from a nearby office came out to tell them to "stop putting on a show," although Watts told BuzzFeed that they remained fully clothed and were only kissing.

By the time LAPD officers arrived, the couple had stopped and Watts was on the phone with her family. When asked for identification, Lucas provided his but Watts decided to walk away, telling BuzzFeed: "I didn't have the stomach for someone on a power trip when I knew I hadn't done anything wrong." Both Watts and Lucas said nobody had ordered her to stop.

A second police car showed up and the officers handcuffed and took Watts back to the original scene, where officers were asking Lucas questions filled with "innuendo," and asking "Do you really know her?" Although officers never explicitly asked, Lucas believed officers had thought Watts was a prostitute.

Support for LAist comes from

On Instagram, Lucas posted a video of Watts being interrogated by an officer, and said in the caption that she had experienced a similar incident when she was 16 and with her father. Watts told BuzzFeed that after being handcuffed she started hyperventilating, saying she suffers panic attacks from past trauma.

"It was absolutely humiliating," Watts told BuzzFeed.

Although Lucas and Watts told BuzzFeed that they didn't want to reduce the incident down to race because they are an interracial couple, they said it was impossible to separate from the events. Lucas wrote on Instagram:

From the questions that he asked me as [Daniele] 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).

After Lucas eventually provided officers with Watts' ID, the couple were released. Watts' wrist was cut by the handcuffs, as seen in a photo Lucas provided to BuzzFeed.

The LAPD had no comment on the incident, as no record is produced when no arrest is made.

Update (2:25): The North Hollywood division of the LAPD issued a press release regarding the incident, saying officers "responded to to a radio call of indecent exposure" prompted by a 911 call. The release further stated that the officers released the couple after realizing "no crime had been committed" and that an internal investigation has been started regarding the incident.

Most Read