LOS ANGELES—Actress Daniele Watts, who suggested she was detained by police because of racial profiling after she was found in a parked car with her boyfriend, was charged Tuesday with lewd conduct.
Watts, 28, and her boyfriend Brian Lucas, 43, were each charged with a single misdemeanour count that carries a potential sentence of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, said Frank Mateljan, spokesman for the city attorney’s office.
An email sent to Watts’ agent, Justin Baxter, and another email sent to Lucas, a chef, through his website were not immediately returned.
Both remained free pending their Nov. 13 arraignment, Mateljan said.
Watts, who appeared in the movie “Django Unchained,” was briefly handcuffed last month after police said she refused to provide identification to an officer investigating a report of lewd conduct in a parked Mercedes in Studio City.
Watts said she and Lucas were just kissing.
The incident went viral after Watts and Lucas claimed on their Facebook pages that the detention reflected racial profiling.
Lucas, who is white, told KCBS-TV in a joint interview with Watts that he suspected the officer mistook the black actress for a prostitute “because he was asking me questions like, ‘Who is she? How do you know her? Are you together?”‘
Police said they followed proper protocol while investigating the 911 call and local civil rights activists demanded that Watts apologize for suggesting race played a role in the confrontation.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson, who initially rallied behind the actress, said she “cried wolf.”
“We take racial profiling very seriously,” he told reporters last month. “It’s not a play thing. It’s not trivial.”