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LAPD Detain Black Actress for No Discernible Reason, Claim They Are “The Boss of Everbody.”

Actress Danielle Watts is not yet a household name, but she has appeared in a number of high-profile projects such as Django Unchained, Weeds, and numerous police procedurals. Despite this, she was detained by police in Los Angeles this weekend after police spotted her kissing her white boyfriend and, she believes, mistook them for a prostitute and her john.

The police demanded identification, and Watts’s boyfriend, Brian Lucas, presented his id but Watts declined. In California, people are not required to present ID to the police and Watts executed her right, and was then promptly placed in handcuffs. The police do have a right to detain someone in order to determine their identity, but only if, according to KCAL, “they have reasonable suspicion to stop” someone, they can. Yet, there is no evidence of any reasonable suspicion other than “someone” called the police.

In a series of audio recordings from TMZ, Watts cries while yelling at the officer. “I do have more power than you,” the cop said, with the same tone of voice one might use when telling a toddler why it’s wrong to draw on the walls. “When I tell you to do something ma’am, you have to do it,” he says, “that’s the law.”

The cop then tried to explain to the innocent and enraged woman why she should have simply submitted to their demands. He said that what would have taken five minutes – apparently how long it takes for “show me your papers” to get you out of trouble – and turned it into a half-hour ordeal. He asked, again as condescending as possible, for Watts to tell him “one disrespectful thing” said to her by police, adding “I’m the boss of everbody.”

Of course Watts was eventually released and I can already hear the police defenders in this situation praising the officer for being “calm” and “patient,” as if because Watts was angry the police officer would have been justified screaming at her or tossing her in the clink.

Yet, according to Mediaite.com, Watts’s father was habitually “humiliated” by police during childhood and she told CNN, “I feel that part of my role as a public figure is to raise awareness and be strong enough to say and do the things that maybe people who don’t have the advantages I have aren’t strong enough, or don’t have the know-how or don’t have the awareness to do.” She added, “For me, standing up for that constitutional right was a gift and a blessing.”

About the author

Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. Along with news and current events, he writes about parenting, art, and personal stories. His serial fiction story "The Prophet Hustle" is available at JukePop.com and a forthcoming independent ebook about the cam-modeling industry "Dirty Little Windows" will be available later this summer.