‘Empire’ Actress Accuses Police at USC of Racially Profiling Son

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Actress Taraji P. Henson and son Marcel Henson attend the screening of ‘From The Rough’ at ArcLight Cinemas on April 23, 2014, in Hollywood. (Credit: Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

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Actress Taraji Henson, star of the hit TV show “Empire,” recently said she does not plan to send her son to USC after he was racially profiled while touring the campus.

Actress Taraji P. Henson and son Marcel Henson attend the screening of 'From The Rough' at ArcLight Cinemas on April 23, 2014, in Hollywood. (Credit: Jason Kempin/Getty Images)
Actress Taraji P. Henson and son Marcel Henson attend the screening of 'From The Rough' at ArcLight Cinemas on April 23, 2014, in Hollywood. (Credit: Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

It was unclear when Marcel, Henson’s 20-year-old son, toured the University of Southern California, but it was one of multiple incidents of racial profiling he experienced in the L.A. area, she told Uptown Magazine in the February-March issue.   

“He’s at USC, the school that I was going to transfer him to, when police stopped him for having his hands in his pockets,” Henson stated. “So guess where he’s going? Howard University. I’m not paying $50,000 so I can’t sleep at night wondering, ‘is this the night my son is getting racially profiled on campus?’”

Howard University, where Henson graduated, is a historically black, private university in Washington, D.C.

USC’s executive director of public safety was “deeply disturbed” to read news reports about the alleged racial profiling, and encouraged such incidents to be reported.

"I would like to look into this matter further and better understand who was involved and what took place,” John Thomas, executive director and chief of USC Department of Public Safety, said in an email statement. “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."

It was unclear which police department was involved in the incident, Thomas added.

“Any allegation of bias or unequal treatment by university officers would trigger an investigation that I would supervise along with the university’s Office of Equity and Diversity. It is my expectation and that of the university that our department uphold the highest standards of constitutional policing, affording equal rights and respect to all persons,” he said.

Prior to the alleged USC incident, Henson said her son was racially profiled when he was pulled over in Glendale.

“(Marcel) 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,” Henson told the magazine.

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