Django Unchained actress Daniele Watts is complaining she was handcuffed and briefly put in a police car after a public display of affection with her white companion.
The man, Brian Lucas, told KCBS-TV 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 said 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. She told the station that she and Lucas were embracing in the car on Thursday.
Watts says 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.
Police say an internal investigation has been launched.