LAPD Officer Who Detained 'Django Unchained' Actress Says He May Be Getting Fired
The LAPD officer who leaked the audio recording of Django Unchained actress Daniele Watts being detained to TMZ last month says he thinks he'll be losing his job.
Sgt. Jim Parker, a 25-year LAPD veteran, told The Wrap that he's been put in a "penalty box" while the LAPD is investigating his conduct. He said, "I can't wear a uniform, I can't be on patrol and I can have no civilian contact."
Just yesterday, Watts and her boyfriend, raw food chef Brian Lucas, were both charged with lewd conduct in public for allegedly having sex in their car with the doors wide open in broad daylight on Sept. 11. When Parker responded to the call, he handcuffed and detained Watts after she refused to show authorities her ID, but later let her go, saying that there was no evidence of any crime committed. However, the couple argued that officers racially profiled them because Watts is black and Lucas is white, and said the officers acted like Lucas was a john and Watts his prostitute.
Parker thinks he's in more hot water than Watts. He told The Wrap, "I've got more charges against me than she has against her." The LAPD is charging him with insubordination for giving TMZ an audio recording that revealed the conversations he had with Watts during her detainment, he said.
Even though he was ordered by the LAPD not to talk to the media, he defended his actions to the L.A. Times in an interview last month: "I had to make a decision. We were facing another racial, tumultuous incident in L.A. I said, 'This has to stop right away.' I drove to my work station, grabbed the recording and called TMZ. It stopped the next day."
LAPD Sgt. Albert Gonzalez, a department spokesman, told the Times last month that officers are not allowed to release department recordings, which include audio recordings, because that could affect the investigation. Parker said he's also charged with discourteous behavior, for the way he talked to Watts in the recording. Parker was also accused of making some dough giving TMZ the audio clip, but he vehemently argues that he never received any money for it.
Watts and Lucas, who are each facing up to maximum sentence of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, gave a statement to CBS Los Angeles about their charges, and mentioned Parker. “We are, quite frankly, appalled and disturbed that the LA prosecutors office has chosen to file these charges against us. The LAPD has previously issued a statement saying that there was no crime committed. If a passionate public embrace while displaying no nudity is grounds for having charges filed against you, then we'd expect that everyone who engages in an extended public display of affection with their loved one will be targeted as well. Sergeant Parker is still under investigation for his conduct and filing misdemeanor charges against us does not change his behavior."