Daniele Watts Charged With Lewd Conduct | THE POLITICUS

Daniele Watts Charged With Lewd Conduct

Black movie actress Daniele Watts got into an argument with an LAPD police officer over his demand that she produce identification. He wound up handcuffing her and showing her into the squad car. The case has been vigorously debated on the internet. Watts has taken the position that this was an incident of racial profiling. Various people have demanded that she apologize for making that statement. She has refused to do so and published an opinion piece in the LA Times giving her reasons for her position. Now the LA Co DA has decided to up the ante by charging her and her boy friend with lewd conduct.


Daniele L. Watts and Brian James Lucas drew national headlines after the couple alleged they were mistreated because Watts is black and Lucas is white.

Django Unchained" actress and her boyfriend who accused Los Angeles police of unjustly handcuffing her last month in Studio City have been charged with lewd conduct in connection with the incident.

Los Angeles police said officers responded Sept. 11 to a call about a couple having sex in a car. The department said Watts and Lucas matched the description of the couple.

Watts was briefly detained as officers asked for identification, but she was released. The LAPD initially said that “it was determined that no crime had been committed.”

But spokesman Lt. Andrew Neiman said Tuesday that a follow-up investigation “revealed witnesses who were willing to provide evidence of a criminal act.”

The Los Angeles city attorney's office charged the couple with misdemeanor lewd conduct. They are due in court Nov. 13 and remain free. If convicted, they face up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

The stature under which they are being charged is

Historically laws like this have been a tool provided to the vice squad. Their definitions are purposefully vague. One element of the definition in the CA statute is the presence of people who would likely be offended by such behavior. Can you get any more subjective than that. This relies on the notion of some kind of prevailing community standard. In a state as diverse and complex as California, community standards in Los Angeles are unlikely to be the same as they are in Modesto.

Watts and Lucas were engaged in some form of intimate contact in their car. There are different versions of just what that entailed. It seems plausible that the prospects of getting a conviction in this case are not terribly strong. DA's typically refuse to prosecute many cases involving allegations about sexual behavior because they doubt their ability to obtain a conviction and thus think that the case would be a waste of resources. So why have they decided to prosecute this one? Could it be because a black woman refuses to apologize to a white policeman? It will be interesting to see what happens in court.