GLENDALE (CBSLA.com) — Actress Taraji P. Henson apologized Friday for claiming her son had been racially profiled during a traffic stop in Glendale after video of the encounter was released, raising questions about the claim.
In an interview with Uptown magazine, the “Empire” actress said her son had been racially profiled in two recent incidents – the Glendale traffic stop and at USC, where she says her son, Marcell Johnson, was stopped for “having his hands in his pockets.” Henson said that as a result, she was enrolling her 20-year-old son at Howard University in Washington, D.C., rather than at USC.
Henson’s apology was posted on Instagram about 3:30 p.m. Friday, alongside the hashtags #TurningANegativeIntoAPositive and #LoveTarajiPHenson.
“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 over react without gathering all of the facts. As a mother in this case, I over reacted and for that I apologize. Thank you to that officer for being kind to my son. Love Taraji P Henson.”
In the wake of Henson’s claims, Glendale police officials researched the incident involving Johnson and found that it took place about 10 p.m. Oct. 18, Glendale police Chief Robert Castro said in a statement.
Video and audio recordings showed Johnson was stopped for failing to yield to a man who was crossing Brand Boulevard after activating pedestrian crossing lights, Castro said.
During the traffic stop, Johnson admitted to having marijuana and Ritalin without a prescription, which is a felony. Video showed the officers searching the vehicle and finding marijuana, honey oil (concentrated marijuana), a marijuana grinder and a knife. The Ritalin was not found and the officers determined Johnson was not driving impaired, Castro said.
The officers “used significant discretion” and cited Johnson for the possession of marijuana and did not cite him for failure to yield to a pedestrian. The video and audio recordings show that the search Johnson consented to was legal, Castro said.
“This situation has resulted in unwarranted threats that will not be tolerated,” Castro said in his statement. “The contact and actions with Marcell Johnson were legal, professional and empathetic.”