Sunday, September 14, 2014

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2950: Daniele Watts, "Django Unchained" Actor gets Mistaken for a Prostitute and Handcuffed and Detained for Kissing her Boyfriend (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Django Unchained actress Daniele Watts (who also currently plays Martin Lawrence's daughter on FX's "Partners") was handcuffed and detained yesterday.

In Ms. Watts's own words, "... I was handcuffed and detained by 2 police officers from the Studio City Police Department after refusing to agree that I had done something wrong by showing affection, fully clothed, in a public place.  When the officer arrived, I was standing on the sidewalk by a tree. I was talking to my father on my cell phone. I knew that I had done nothing wrong, that I wasn’t harming anyone, so I walked away.  A few minutes later, I was still talking to my dad when 2 different police officers accosted me and forced me into handcuffs..."

Ms. Watts was then put into the back of police vehicle and detained until her I.D. was check and she was then released. It seems to many that this was a case of racial profiling - e.g. a black woman kissing a white man was assumed to be a prostitute. Indeed this has been spelled out specifically by her boyfriend, Brian James Lucas:

"From the questions that he asked me as D was already on her phone with her dad, I could tell that whoever called on us (including the officers), saw a tatted RAWKer white boy and a hot bootie shorted black girl and thought we were a HO (prostitute) & a TRICK (client)"...."So they handcuffed her and threw her roughly into the back of the cop car until they could figure out who she was. In the process of handcuffing her, they cut her wrist, which was truly NOT COOL!!! Of course, they had to let her go eventually cuz we weren't a threat to anyone."

A partial nonverbal analysis of the above video appears below:

Even though this is a low resolution image, we can clearly see the police officer's central forehead contracted (CFC), an inward lip roll (ILR), his "mustache area" tightened, nostrils flared and his jaw jutting forward. This nonverbal cluster is highly correlative with strong incredulity, as well as anger and arrogance.

The hand-hooked in his belt is a hyper-alpha configuration that very overtly asserts his dominance and also has a significant sexual component to it (later he takes that hand out of his belt and displays a palm-up body language consistent with asking a question).

His leaning on the cement embankment displays a perceived "ownership" of the scene. While this is not surprising here, it is not at all a rapport building configuration and does NOT de-escalate an emotional interaction (Rather it is one of many actions the officer does to escalate this interaction). The officer's crossed-leg/toe-down body language is a way of saying "You're crying, you're upset, but I don't really care."

Less than a second later his inward lip roll increases as his upper head leans forward and his central forehead elevates even further. This is significant for even more disbelief.

About 4 seconds later we see the police officer's mouth make exaggerated movements when he is speaking.

This is highly indicative of a person who is perceives himself to be an alpha and the person(s) to who(m) he is speaking he believes to be a significantly lower beta. This is often seen in the business, political, medical and legal world - as well as in law enforcement. Again, it does not build rapport and escalates the emotions. It's a very loud and clear message that although he may be speaking the "right words", he his thoughts and emotions have a strong self-import and a strong self-agenda.

Although this is only a snippet of this incident, we can say this is very out-of-context for what an officer should display given Ms. Watts's account of what transpired. Police officers have a very difficult and dangerous job. Yet they along with "to protect and to serve", a thorough understanding human emotions and de-escalation should be sought, rather than a default of always asserting dominance.

It is of particular note that Ms. Watts used the term "affection". Confusing affection for otherwise sexual behavior (and obviously there can certainly be an overlap when it comes to kissing) from the point of view of the giver, the receiver - or in this case an observer, is a topic worthy of many books, libraries and even careers. Its misunderstanding and confusion is responsible for many relationship problems - and in this case what many have called police harassment.

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2949: Hillary Clinton at Maya Angelou's Tribute - a Body Language Signal of .... 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2718: Obama: "I can do whatever I want" Body Language with French President Fran├žois Hollande

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2895: "Fifty Shades of Grey" Trailer - If Christian Grey was a real person ..... Body Language Tells

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2599: Spotting Subtle Signals of Arrogance - Tiger Woods and Rachel Nichols

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2584: Darnell Barton - Hero with Body Language of De-Escalation

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2784: Fight Breaks Out in Ukrainian Parliament - One Body Language which Predicts Throwing Fists 

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2928: Oscar Pistorius, Hugging, Affection and Sincerity