Days after accusing the Glendale Police Department of racially profiling her son, actress Taraji P. Henson apologized Friday following the release of a video that showed an encounter between an officer and her 20-year-old son.
“I would like to publicly apologize to the officer and the Glendale Police Department,” the star of the television show “Empire” wrote in an Instagram post. “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 that officer for being kind to my son.”
Henson used the hashtags, #TurningANegativeIntoAPositive and #LoveTarajiPHenson at the end of the message.
In the newly released dashcam footage from the night of Oct. 10, a Glendale police officer initiated the traffic stop after a car, which was being driven by Marcell Johnson, goes through a lighted crosswalk while a pedestrian is crossing.
The officer approaches the actress’ son and explains why he pulled him over.
After getting his license and registration, the officer asks Johnson if he has anything illegal in the car that he should know about. The young man responds that he had marijuana in a backpack inside the vehicle, but added he had a prescription for the drug.
“I appreciate you being honest with me about the weed. I do appreciate that because I do smell weed,” the officer said. “So thank you for being honest about that.”
Later, Johnson admitted he also had a Ritalin pill in the vehicle that he had gotten from a friend who had a prescription for the drug used to treat hyperactivity.
Johnson then consents to a vehicle search.
Officers searching the car found the marijuana but were unable to locate the Ritalin. Johnson later told them he may have left it at his friend’s place.
The officers also conducted a sobriety test on Johnson after he told one of the officers that he had smoked marijuana two hours earlier. According to the Los Angeles Times, Johnson passed.
After talking it over, the officers decided not to ticket him over the original moving infraction and cited him for possessing marijuana instead.
“I am not going to give you a citation for running that yellow because that would actually put a moving violation on your driving license, and you are going to have to go to traffic school and all that stuff,” the officer who initiated the traffic stop told Johnson. “So I am helping you by not giving you a violation on that. All I am going to do is take the weed from you.”
The officer added that since Johnson didn’t have his prescription for the marijuana with him, he could go to court, show the prescription and “handle it that way.”
The officer also told Johnson not to have Ritalin on him without a prescription because “that’s a big violation and I wouldn’t want to do that to you.”
Henson later said her son wasn’t ticketed.
The Oscar and Emmy-nominated actress had told Uptown Magazine in the publication’s February-March issue that he had also been racially profiled at USC, where she had planned to enroll him before changing her mind after the incident.
In the aftermath of the accusation, the executive director and chief of the USC Department of Public safety released a statement on Tuesday saying he was “deeply disturbed” over the report.
“I would like to look into this matter further and better understand who was involved and what took place,” John Thomas wrote in an e-mail. “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 it was unclear which police department was involved in the incident, which occurred when Johnson was touring the University of Southern California campus.