LOS ANGELES — Actress Taraji P. Henson is apologizing for claiming her son was racially profiled during a traffic stop in Southern California last year.
The Glendale Police Department released dash cam video of the encounter Friday, which contradicted her son’s claims.
Police released the footage after Henson commented about the alleged profiling in an Uptown Magazine interview published last month.
In her interview, the star of the hit television show “Empire” said her son, Marcell Johnson, 20, was racially profiled in Glendale and at the University of Southern California, where she accused campus police of stopping him for “having his hands in his pockets.”
University steps in
After her son’s claim, she vowed to send him to Howard University in Washington instead.
“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,” she said.
Even the University of Southern California stepped in, with its public safety director, John Thomas, saying he was disturbed by the report of the profiling, and was investigating it further.
“We encourage reporting of allegations of bias and I hope for the opportunity to have a conversation with the young man and his mother,” Thomas said.
Public apology to officers
But Henson retracted her accusations Friday, and publicly apologized to the Glendale Police Department.
“A mother’s job is not easy and neither is a police officer’s,” she said in a post on Instagram. “Sometimes as humans we overreact without gathering all of the facts. As a mother in this case I overreacted and for that I apologize. Thank you to that officer for being kind to my son.”
The traffic stop
Police Chief Robert Castro said his agency researched the traffic stop after her comments to the magazine.
The incident started when a Glendale officer pulled over Johnson in October for failing to yield to a pedestrian at a cross walk.
During the traffic stop, Johnson admitted to having marijuana, an infraction and Ritalin without a prescription, a felony, according to Castro.
He consented to a search of the vehicle, and officers found marijuana, honey oil (concentrated marijuana), a marijuana grinder and a knife, Castro said. Johnson was not driving while impaired and was only cited for possession of marijuana, he said.
“Misinformation that was reported in the story in Uptown Magazine with Taraji P. Henson impairs and weakens the relationships between law enforcement and the communities,” Castro said.
The Glendale Police Department said Friday it appreciated Henson’s apology and is sharing it with its officers.