“Empire” star Taraji P. Henson‘s claim that her son was racially profiled during a traffic stop in Glendale, California last year is in question after police released dash cam video of the Oct. 18 incident.
In an edited version of the 40-minute video obtained by the L.A. Times, Marcel Henson is shown running a yellow light at a crosswalk where a pedestrian is attempting to cross. He is then pulled over for that offense.
Henson admits to the officer that he has marijuana in the car, and the officer thanks Henson for his honesty.
“I appreciate you being honest with me about the weed. I do appreciate that because I do smell weed,” the officer said.
After checking Henson’s ID, the officer asks the 20-year-old to step out of the car and wait on the sidewalk, and Henson complies without argument.
It would appear that the officer was lenient with Henson, giving the man a citation for possession of marijuana, but letting him go for running the yellow light.
“I’m gonna give you a citation for the marijuana,” the officer said. “Listen, I’m not gonna give you a citation for running that yellow, because that’ll actually put a moving violation on your driver’s license, and you’re gonna have to do traffic school and all that stuff. So I’m helping you out by not giving you a violation on that. All I’m gonna do is take the weed.”
The officer may have also given Henson a warning for having smoked marijuana within the last two hours — it’s unclear from the video — and gave him a warning for possessing Ritalin.
“If you have Ritalin on you, and you’re not supposed to, don’t do it,” the officer warned.
“That’s a big violation, and I wouldn’t want to do that to you,” he added.
Henson may have a prescription for the pot, in which case he can present the appropriate documentation in court and have the citation lifted.
Taraji P. Henson told a magazine in February that she planned to transfer her son to Howard University after he experienced racial profiling while visiting schools in Southern California.
“He was in Glendale, California and did exactly everything the cops told him to do, including letting them illegally search his car,” Henson told Uptown magazine.
“It was bogus because they didn’t give him the ticket for what he was pulled over for,” she added.
In the video, the officer asks Marcel Henson to sign an admission of guilt for a lesser offense similar to failure to stop at a stop sign, which avoids the harsher penalties of points on his license and mandatory traffic school that a moving violation would carry.
Taraji P. Henson also claimed that her son was profiled at USC, which the school called “deeply” disturbing.
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