Empire star Taraji P. Henson took to Instagram to offer a public apology to the Glendale Police Department after newly released police video contradicts her claim that her son was racially profiled and treated unfairly. She now says she “overreacted” when she told Uptown Magazine that she was pulling her son from USC and sending him to Howard University because of the incident.
“My child has been racially profiled. He was in Glendale, California, and 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,” she said in the interview that was published last week.
But on Friday, the Los Angeles Times released police video which countered the Oscar-nominated actress’ story. The footage from Oct. 18, 2014, shows the officer driving in traffic about 10:10 p.m. in Glendale when Henson drives through a lighted crosswalk as a person walks across.
When the officer approaches the car, Johnson hands the officer his insurance information and says he’s never been arrested. He says his name is Marcell Johnson, and his mother is actress Taraji P. Henson.
“You know you’re not supposed to have that, right?” the officer told him.
Johnson then let the officer search his car.
He later revealed to officers that he had smoked marijuana two hours before driving, at which point a sobriety test was performed. He passed the test.
The officer appeared to cut Johnson a break by giving him a citation for possessing marijuana, instead of a traffic violation, which would have more damaging effect to his driving record.
“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, so I am helping you by not giving you a violation on it. All I am going to do is take the weed from you,” he said.
The video of the incident went viral, forcing Henson to make the following statement in a social media post.
“I would like to publicly apologize to the officer and the Glendale Police Department,” she said in an Instagram message after the paper released the video. “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.”