Actress Daniele Watts was detained along with her boyfriend Brian Lucas for refusing to identify herself after someone called 911 to report “two people having sex in a car” a couple of weeks ago. By now, pretty much everyone knows that she then pulled not just the race card, but also the fame card, on LAPD Sgt. Jim Parker, and generally behaved like a spoiled child, ranting and raving in a way all too familiar to any emergency service personnel, unnecessarily prolonging what would have been a 2-minute contact 12 times over and ruining the sergeant’s original plan to get some coffee.
Lucas, on the other hand, appeared very chill and basically ended the cops’ interest in him by being, let’s just say, uninteresting and, therefore, unsuspicious.
I actually listened – and cringed – to the entire 24-minute audio clip of the LAPD response. I don’t have much personal interest in this whole kerfuffle, but I do realize one thing: I do not have anywhere near the unbelievable patience that Sgt. Parker has, and it’s a good thing I’m not a cop. I even recognize in his voice that very unique blend of restraint, bemusement, fatherly indulgence, sarcasm, passive-aggression and resignation that only other emergency responders can understand.
Since this happened so soon after the Oakland, California incident, it really has not been a good month for embellishing your racial profiling claims. I get it – no one likes cops, but claiming a bunch of stuff that is practically the opposite of what is recorded generally isn’t such a good idea.
After the usual did-she-or-did-she-not-have-to-show-identification in the media, this being America, a country where something as simple as identifying yourself to law enforcement during questioning routinely becomes as complicated as humanly possible, the legal people still can’t agree on anything.
It is endlessly funny to me that, as a law-abiding member of society with things to do, someone would actually rather be detained for 24 minutes than 2 just to be a martyr. A bit like the way someone would rather sit in line in the cash lanes of a toll road than zip through electronic toll collection just because s/he doesn’t “want the gubmint to know where” s/he’s going.
Finally, in an amazingly unusual move, local civil rights leaders totally sided with the cops and asked Watts to apologize, and, in a totally expected move, Watts refused.
***Update #1: Daniele Watts has been ordered to apologize in writing to Sgt. Jim Parker.
***Update #2: Daniele Watts couldn’t even write two sincere, mature apologies to Sgt. Jim Parker.