Taraji P. Henson Issues an Apology to Police for Alleging Her Son Was Racially Profiled

Kaitlyn Laurie / March 28, 2015
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Taraji P. Henson is bold and courageous, apologizing for being only human and overreacting without knowing all the facts involving a situation with her son and a police officer.

She was being a protective mother, and it got the best of her.

In an interview with Uptown magazine last month, the Empire star made comments claiming that her 20-year-old son, Marcel Johnson, was racially profiled last year in Southern California when he was pulled over by a Glendale police officer.

She commented, “My child has been racially profiled. He was in Glendale, California and did exactly everything the cops told him to do, including letting them illegally search his car. It was bogus because they didn’t give him the ticket for what he was pulled over for.”

On Friday, the Glendale police department released footage from the cop car’s dash cam, contradicting claims that racial profiling was at play.

Henson, who plays the fierce Cookie Lyons, posted this apology to Instagram for wrongfully accusing the police officer.

Retracting her allegations, she wrote in part, “I would like to publicly apologize to the officer and the Glendale Police Department. A mother’s job is not easy and neither is a police officer’s.”

#TurningANegativeIntoAPositive #LoveTarajiPHenson ✌️

A photo posted by taraji p henson (@tarajiphenson) on

She captioned the photo, “”#TurningANegativeIntoAPositive #LoveTarajiPHenson.”

In the video from Oct. 18, 2015, the officer explains to Johnson that he was pulled over for driving through a yellow light and failing to yield at a cross walk when a pedestrian was passing and the lights were blinking. He then asks Johnson whether or not he has any illegal substances in the car. Johnson admits he has marijuana but cannot find his medical prescription in the vehicle.

The cop then tells him that he’s going to let him off easy by giving him a ticket for possession of marijuana instead of the more serious moving violation, saying:

So I’m going to give you a citation for the marijuana. Listen, I’m not going to give you a citation for running that yellow because that will actually put a moving violation on your license and you’re going to have to do traffic school and all that stuff. So I’m helping you out by not giving you a violation on that.

All I’m going to do is take the weed from you. You can go to court and show your prescription and stuff and you can handle it that way. It felt like this was a little better than the other one. I am giving this to you too because you smoked weed about two hours ago.

Henson additionally told Uptown that racial profiling on USC’s campus was the reason why she wasn’t sending her son there for school, and that he’d go to Howard University (a historically black college) instead.

She commented, “Then he’s at University of Southern California, the school that I was going to transfer him to, when police stopped him for having his hands in his pockets. So guess where he’s going? Howard University. I’m not paying $50K so I can’t sleep at night wondering is this the night my son is getting racially profiled on campus.”

The Hollywood Reporter reports that Chief Thomas Johnson of USC’s Department of Public Safety responded to her claims earlier this week, stating:

I was deeply disturbed to read news reports about a prospective student who felt profiled on or near campus because of his race. We encourage reporting of allegations of bias, and I hope for the opportunity to have a conversation with the young man and his mother.I would like to look into this matter further and better understand who was involved and what took place.

As someone who personally experienced racial profiling as a teenager, I have a stake in learning more about this incident and doing all I can to reach a just resolution.

[CNN, People]