Target: Los Angeles Chief of Police Charlie Beck
Goal: Demand LAPD release a public apology for accusing Daniele Watts of prostitution
Recently, a actress Daniele Watts was publicly harassed by a Los Angeles police officer. The actress, who recently appeared in Django Unchained, was mistaken for a prostitute and apprehended until police properly identified her. Watts was with her husband, who is white, when this incident occurred. Understandably, Watts was horrified at the accusation and very emotional while being apprehended and unfairly questioned. This unprovoked and racially motivated behavior by the LAPD is extremely offensive and amounts to emotional abuse.
The police officers responsible for accosting Watts received a call from a concerned citizen about a couple engaging in inappropriate activities in a car. Upon arriving at the scene, the officers detained Watts because she and her husband fit the caller’s description. According to the LAPD, because Watts was let go at the scene and not taken into the station for questioning, there is no public record of the incident. However, this incident was broadcast on the actress’s personal Facebook page, with pictures and an account of what happened. Because social media is often used by the police to gain insight into criminals’ wrongdoings and everyday citizen activities, the actress’s personal account of the incident should be considered official evidence.
Not only is being accused of prostitution degrading, but it is incredibly humiliating and hurtful. Pictures of the incident show Watts visibly upset and crying, with unfazed officers demanding to see her identification, which she refused to give on the grounds that she had done no wrong. Whether or not the police department received a complaint call about a couple with a similar description, this is a case of racial profiling and is therefore incredibly inappropriate. Demand that the LAPD issue a public apology to Watts, as well as vow to better serve its community through careful observation and fact-checking before taking action.
Dear Police Chief Beck,
Recently a famous actress was accosted by the LAPD because they believed her to be a prostitute. Daniele Watts, an actress known for her role in Django Unchained, was kissing her Caucasian husband when she was approached, asked for identification, and then detained by police officers. While the LAPD claims that it received a call about a white male and black female engaging in publicly indecent activities, the officers on your team should always use caution and common sense in the field. Closer observation of the couple and reactions of people around them would have proven the couple’s innocence.
I urge you to publicly apologize to Mrs. Watts and her husband. Demand that your team approach matters of this nature with 100 percent confidence that they are apprehending and questioning the appropriate individuals. Watts was humiliated and deeply offended by the LAPD. Your officers engaged in racial profiling; these actions are shameful and must be avoided. Please urge your team to use better judgment to prevent this situation from happening again.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Shay Sowden via Wikipedia