The Los Angeles police officer who detained "Django Unchained" actress Daniele Watts and her boyfriend on suspicion of lewd behavior last month said he expects to be fired on the heels of the controversy and is under so much stress that he took a medical leave.
“I've been placed in what's called the ‘penalty box.’ I can't wear a uniform, I can't be on patrol and I can have no civilian contact,” Sergeant Jim Parker told the Wrap.
The 25-year LAPD veteran told the Wrap he's under an internal affairs investigation over his handling of the Sept. 11 incident, which started when police received reports about a couple having sex in a car with the door open. After police arrived on scene in Studio City, Watts refused to turn over her ID, and she was handcuffed and detained.
The couple denied they were having sex; soon they were released and it was determined no crime had been committed.
But Watts and celebrity-chef boyfriend Brian James Lucas shared on social media their pointed views of what had transpired, posting photos and video — and the story exploded. The couple not only claimed police racially profiled them — Watts is black; Lucas is white — but also that others assumed she was a prostitute and he was her customer.
Parker fought back, leaking an audio tape of the incident to TMZ.com in the hopes it would show he was not being racist, the Wrap reported. He also spoke to the media about his side of things — despite being told not to do so, the Wrap added.
Because of those actions, Parker told the Wrap he's staring down accusations of insubordination by his department. Parker also has been accused of selling the audio to TMZ, which he denied, the Wrap said. He's also accused of discourteous behavior toward Watts, the Wrap added.
In regard to Parker's employment status, the LAPD told the Wrap it doesn't comment on personnel matters.
Although a follow-up investigation led to Watts and Lucas being charged with one count each of lewd conduct, which carries a maximum six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, Parker said he believes he's in deeper trouble than the couple.
“I've got more charges against me than she has against her,” he told the Wrap.
Watts had been scheduled to give a talk about race, sexual expression and civil rights at the University of Southern California's Gould Law School, but officials postponed the event the day after lewd conduct charges were filed against her, the L.A. Times reported.
Soon after the TMZ published audio of the incident, civil rights leaders who initially sided with Watts and demanded justice reversed course, saying the actress was wrong and that police handled things the right way. Here's a report from KCBS-TV:
Watts and Lucas, due in court Nov. 13, are standing by their account of what happened last month.
“We are, quite frankly, appalled and disturbed that the LA prosecutors office has chosen to file these charges against us," the couple said in a statement. "The LAPD has previously issued a statement saying that there was no crime committed. If a passionate public embrace while displaying no nudity is grounds for having charges filed against you, then we'd expect that everyone who engages in an extended public display of affection with their loved one will be targeted as well. Sergeant Parker is still under investigation for his conduct and filing misdemeanor charges against us does not change his behavior.”
Parker told The Wrap that he's been getting calls of support from a lot of other officers but admitted his prospects don't look promising: “I'm in shock at what happened to me."
This story has been updated.