Actress Daniele Watts, who appeared in "Django Unchained," was handcuffed and briefly put in the back of a squad car on Thursday after cops received a complaint that two people were "involved in indecent exposure" in a silver Mercedes.
TMZ is quoting witnesses who said a couple was having sex in the car's front seat, in the middle of the afternoon, with the door open.
Watts told KCBS-TV that she and her partner Brian Lucas were merely embracing in the car.
TMZ released police audio of the incident, during which Watts accuses a police officer of being racist and says, among other things, "I think I'd like to identify you ... to my publicist," and, "I serve freedom and love. You guys serve detainment. That's cool."
Lucas said that he felt police mistook Watts as a prostitute "because he was asking me questions like, 'Who is she? How do you know her? Are you together?'"
Watts says in the audio she initially did not give officers her ID, and 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.
The Los Angeles police said Sunday that officers detained Watts and Lucas only until they determined no crime was committed.
Police say they followed proper protocol during the incident.
Los Angeles police Lt. Andrew Neiman said Monday that citizens are required to identify themselves if requested to do so by an officer who has reasonable suspicion to believe an offense may have been committed.
A rep for Watts was unavailable for immediate comment regarding TMZ's report and audio recordings.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.