‘Empire’ Star Taraji P. Henson Apologizes for Claim Son Racially Profiled by Cops

To police, Taraji P. Henson wrote:“I overreacted and for that I apologize."

March 30, 2015, 10:34 AM
PHOTO: Actress Taraji P. Henson attends Variety Studio Actors on Actors presented by Autograph Collection Hotel, March 29, 2015, Los Angeles.
Actress Taraji P. Henson attends Variety Studio Actors on Actors presented by Autograph Collection Hotel, March 29, 2015, Los Angeles.
Angela Weiss/Getty Images

— -- Actress Taraji P. Henson may be known for unapologetically standing her ground as a music matriarch on the hit show, “Empire,” but she has apologized for claiming that her son was racially profiled by the Glendale Police Department in California.

After Henson told Uptown magazine her son’s traffic stop last fall in Glendale, California, was “bogus” and that he wasn’t given a “ticket for what he was pulled over for,” the police department released dashcam video of their encounter with Henson’s son, 20-year-old Marcell Johnson.

The video shows from the Oct. 18 incident shows that a black Honda failed to stop for a pedestrian at a lighted crosswalk. The car was pulled over and the driver was Johnson. Police explained why the car was stopped.

"You’ve got to stop at those things. I don't want you to hit someone,” a male officer told Johnson.

Johnson also admitted that he was carrying medical marijuana in the car, but said he couldn’t find his license for it.

The officer responded: “I do smell weed. So thank you for being honest about that.”

When officers asked him whether he had anything else in the car that he should know about, Johnson admitted that he had Ritalin, according to the video.

The Ritalin belonged to a friend who had given it to him, Johnson said.

Johnson took a sobriety test that he passed.

“So I'm going to give you a citation for the marijuana,” the officer said, according to the video. “I'm not going to give you a citation for running that yellow because that will actually put a moving violation on your driver’s license and you are going to have to do traffic school.”

The officer also cautioned Johnson against smoking marijuana too soon before driving and warned him not to take Ritalin that wasn’t prescribed to him. The officer appeared to be respectful to Johnson during the entire exchange, as seen in the video.

On Friday, Henson, who plays Cookie Lyon on the FOX show, took to Instagram to apologize, writing: “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 overreact without gathering all of the facts. I over reacted (sic) and for that I apologize. Thank you to that officer for being kind to my son. LoveTaraji P Henson.”

The Glendale Police Department responded to Henson’s apology with this statement: “The Glendale Police Department appreciates Ms. Henson’s quick response to this situation. We are circulating Ms. Henson’s apology amongst the members of the department this afternoon. Chief (Robert) Castro is also planning to meet with the officers that were involved in the traffic stop. Once this is done, the department will respond to Ms. Henson.”

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