Cop ac­cused of racism by 'Django' ac­tress fined

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

Anow-re­tired Los Angeles po­lice of­fi­cer, who grabbed head­lines over the de­ten­tion of a "Django Un­chained" ac­tress, was fined $500 Tues­day by an ethics com­mis­sion for leak­ing au­dio of the in­ci­dent. Sergeant James Parker had faced a $10,000 fine but mem­bers of the Los Angeles Ethics Com­mis­sion said a lower nominal penalty was more ap­pro­pri­ate. In a highly un­usual move, Parker was ac­cused of vi­o­lat­ing city ethics rules af­ter he leaked au­dio of his Septem­ber 2014 en­counter with African-Amer­i­can ac­tress Daniele Watts. Parker's at­tor­ney, Lawrence Hanna, ex­pressed out­rage at the ethics com­mis­sion rul­ing, blast­ing panel mem­bers as "cow­ards" and vow­ing an ap­peal.

"This is the first po­lice of­fi­cer they've ever done this to... and they are try­ing to make an ex­am­ple out of him," he told AFP. "They are cow­ards be­cause they just feel that they have to do some­thing and to show that they're be­ing tough rather than back­ing a po­lice of­fi­cer and do­ing what's right." In the 2014 in­ci­dent, Watts was briefly hand­cuffed and de­tained by po­lice who were re­spond­ing to a re­port of a cou­ple hav­ing sex in a car parked in Stu­dio City, an up­scale neigh­bor­hood of Los Angeles. She had re­fused to show any form of iden­ti­fi­ca­tion to the re­spond­ing of­fi­cers and was re­leased af­ter her boyfriend, Brian James Lu­cas, gave po­lice her ID.

The ac­tress-who played Coco in Quentin Tarantino's Os­car­win­ning 2012 film "Django Un­chained"-and Lu­cas ini­tially claimed that the po­lice ac­tion was racially mo­ti­vated. Lu­cas wrote on his Face­book page that of­fi­cers acted as though the pair were en­gaged in pros­ti­tu­tion as he is white and Watts is black. Parker de­fended his ac­tions, which gained na­tional at­ten­tion, by re­leas­ing an au­dio­tape of the en­counter to the celebrity web­site TMZ, prompt­ing a back­lash against the cou­ple. He was not paid for the tape, his at­tor­ney said. Lu­cas and Watts sub­se­quently pleaded no con­test to dis­turb­ing the peace and were or­dered to apol­o­gize to po­lice of­fi­cers. As part of their deal with prose­cu­tors, charges of lewd con­duct were dropped.

Daniele Watts

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