Actress Daniele Watts, who appeared in "Django Unchained," is complaining that she was handcuffed and briefly put in the back of a squad car after a public display of affection with her white companion.
Brian Lucas told KCBS-TV in a joint interview with Watts that he suspects police mistook the black actress for a prostitute "because he was asking me questions like, 'Who is she? How do you know her? Are you together?"
The Los Angeles Police Department said Sunday that officers detained the pair after a complaint that two people were "involved in indecent exposure" in a silver Mercedes. Watts was detained until police determined no crime was committed.
Watts told the station that she and Lucas were embracing in the car Thursday when police showed up. The station said the two have been dating for the past year.
"I knew that the clearest thing for me to do was to own my right as a free person and say, 'I haven't done anything wrong and I know I'm not required to give you my ID,'" she said.
Watts said she walked away and another officer put her in handcuffs and into the back of a patrol car. She was let go after police identified her.
"I don't have to feel ashamed for being who I am and that's really where the tears were coming from," Watts said, referring to a cellphone video of her in the incident.
Police said an internal investigation has been launched.
Representatives for Watts did not return calls and emails seeking comment.