Brave, that's the first word that comes to mind whenever I see an interractial couple. Relationships are not easy to begin with. So to make the conscious decision to engage in one that is still considered taboo by many here in "progressive" America is quite admirable. I cannot honestly say that I would have the patience or the courage to do so, and examples like the one in this story is one reason why.
African-American actress Danièle Watts claims she was "handcuffed and detained" by police officers from the Los Angeles Police Department at CBS's Studio City production facility on Thursday after allegedly being mistaken for a prostitute.
According to accounts by Watts and her husband Brian James Lucas, two police officers mistook the couple for a prostitute and client when they were seen showing affection in public. When the officers asked Watts to produce a photo ID when questioned, she refused. Watts was subsequently handcuffed and placed in the back of a police cruiser while the officers attempted to figure out who she was. The two officers released Watts shortly thereafter.
Watts says that she had accompanied a friend to a diversity showcase before meeting Lucas at his car. "I sat on his lap in the front seat of the car and we start making out," she told BuzzFeed. A man from a nearby office came out and asked the couple to “stop putting on a show.” The police arrived shortly thereafter.
Watts, who played CoCo in Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained and currently stars in Martin Lawrence vehicle Partners, posted an account of the incident on her Facebook page:
"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," wrote Watts. "I felt his shame, his anger, and my own feelings of frustration for existing in a world where I have allowed myself to believe that “authority figures” could control my BEING… my ability to BE!!!!!!!"
Watt's husband Brian Lucas, who is white, claimed that the two were targeted by police for being an interracial couple and, while police didn't explicit ask Watts if she was a prostitute, asked questions laden with innuendo. In a separate post on his Facebook page, Lucas said that "from the questions that [police] 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)."
An Los Angeles Police Department public information officer told variety that "there was no record of the incident as Watts wasn’t arrested or brought into the station for questioning."
Sadly, this isn't the first time something like this has happened. In 2008, a Galveston, Texas couple sued three police officers who arrested and beat their 12-year-old daughter after mistaking her for a prostitute. And at the 2011 Netroots Nation convention in Minneapolis, Minn., Cheryl Contee of Jack and Jill Politics asked a panel of African-American women to raise their hands if they had ever been mistaken for a prostitute. Everyone’s hands went up.