Daniele Watts (pictured left) and boyfriend Brian Lucas (pictured) plead not guilty to lewd conduct charges in Los Angeles Tuesday, the New York Daily News reports.
The charges stem from an incident last September, when witnesses say they saw the “Django Unchained” actress engaging in a sexual act with Lucas in a car on a street in Studio City.
Watts began arguing with a responding officer when he asked for identification, claiming he was profiling her.
“Do you know how many times the cops have been called just for being Black? Just because [I’m] Black and he’s White? I’m just being really honest,” Watts asked LAPD Sergeant Jim Parker, per audio the LAPD released shortly after the incident.
“I’m being very calm. I’m not being an a– to you,” an arriving second officer is heard telling Watts before she is arrested.
“You’re not the one who’s in handcuffs,” she responds back, crying. “You’re not the one who’s spent your life being called a ‘N*gger’ and growing up in the South, and now I get the cops called on me.”
Watts alleged the officers arrested her because they thought she was a hooker.
Parker later told the News he never suspected Watts of prostitution and was planning to end the stop within five minutes…had she not become antagonistic.
Watts’ and Lucas’ lawyer, Lou Shapiro, entered their plea after talking about a new diversion legislation for the year.
The legislation gives certain judges authority to throw out non-violent misdemeanors without prosecutors’ consent if the defendants follow certain conditions. Watts and Lucas did not enter pleas during a court appearance last month, hoping they would qualify for the program. However, that motion was denied.
“After consideration by everyone, diversion is not applicable at the current time,” Shapiro said.
He added that a trial could start within a few months.
“It’s going smoothly in terms of everyone being professional and courteous, but you have witnesses on one side saying one thing, and Daniele and Brian on the other side saying something different,” he added.
The couple faces six months behind bars and a $1,000 fine if convicted.
“We know that we didn’t do anything wrong, and we love each other,” Watts said outside the courtroom in December.
Of the police encounter, Watts added, “I will say that I’m very humbled by the experience, and that I’m grateful for the conversations that are being had and for the clarity that’s coming from all of this.”
Both parties are due back in court on February 23rd.
Article and Picture Courtesy of News One