A dashcam video released by Glendale, California police disproved claims by an ‘Empire’ star that her son was racially profiled during a traffic stop on October 18. The actress, Taraji Henson, has since apologized to the department via her Instagram account.
According to NBC Los Angeles, the 40-minute video showed Henson’s son, Marcell Johnson, driving through a lit and flashing crosswalk with a woman walking in it. A Glendale officer proceeded to pull him over and explained to Johnson why he had been stopped.
The officer then asked Johnson if he had ever been arrested and if there was anything illegal in the vehicle. Johnson told the officer that he had marijuana in his backpack. He also explained that he had a medical marijuana prescription.
The officer responded, “I appreciate you being honest with me about the weed. I do appreciate that because I do smell weed.”
NBC Los Angeles reported that Johnson was also asked to take a field sobriety test because he admitted he had smoked the marijuana just two hours before the traffic stop. He passed the sobriety test.
Ultimately, the officer issued him a citation for the marijuana, telling Johnson that if he went to court with proof of the prescription, he would most likely only have to pay a fine. He also told Johnson that he was better off getting the marijuana citation as it would not affect his driving record as much as a charge of illegally running a crosswalk.
After the dashcam was released, Henson posted her apology on her Instagram, “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. Sometimes as humans we overreact without gathering all the facts. As a mother in this case I overreacted and for that I apologize. Thank you to the officer for being kind to my son. Love, Taraji P. Henson.” The actress’s publicist called the police department after the statement was posted, confirming it was from her.
According to the Inquisitr, Henson had previously spoke about the accusation during an interview with Uptown Magazine. At the same time, she accused USC police as also racially profiling her son. Because of this perception by the actress and her son, it had been decided that Johnson would be attending Howard University instead USC as planned.
The chief of USC’s Department of Public Safety said in a statement Tuesday that he was racially profiled as a teenager and was “deeply disturbed” to learn that Henson’s son felt profiled because of his race.
“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,” he said.