Friday, March 27, 2015

Taraji P. Henson Claims Son Was Racially Profiled, Cop's Dash Cam Video Tells Different Story

Earlier this month, Empire star Taraji P. Henson said her son was racially profiled and stopped by police on the campus of the University of Southern California last fall for having his hands in his pockets. She then said boasted that her son, 20-year-old Marcell Johnson, never received a ticket for the original alleged infraction. BUT, in a 40-minute dash cam video obtained by the Los Angeles Times, it seems like Marcell (how he doin'!) wasn't as truthful with his mother as he was the officer who pulled him over. The footage from Oct. 18 shows the officer driving in traffic about 10:10 p.m. in Glendale when Marcell, who is in a Honda Civic ahead of him, drives through a lighted crosswalk as a person walks across. The officer pulls him over and asks for his insurance information and says he has never been arrested. He gives the cop his name and then volunteered to the officer that his mother is Taraji P. Henson. The officer smells weed in the car and asks Marcell if there was anything illegal in the vehicle. Marcell admitted to the cop he had weed in his backpack and Ritalin. He told the officer he had a state-issued medical marijuana license but couldn't find it and he didn't have a prescription for the Ritalin and got the pill from a friend. He then consented and allowed the officer to search his car. At that point, the officer was joined by two other officers and a police cadet. For most of the traffic stop, officers searched his car for the Ritalin pill, which they never found because he said he may have left it at his friend’s house. They also found hash oil, marijuana and a grinder. The officer found a knife, which they determined was legal. On the video, he told one of the officers he had smoked marijuana two hours before driving, so a sobriety test was performed. He passed the test. After checking his car, the officer decided not to cite him for the original infraction because it would have a lasting effect on his driving record. Instead, he cited the young man for possessing marijuana. “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 officer told Marcell he could go to court, show proof he has a prescription and probably just pay a fine. “It felt like this was a little better than the other one,” he said. “I am giving this to you too because you smoked weed about two hours ago… and a warning if you have Ritalin on you and you’re not supposed to, don’t do it. That’s a big violation and I wouldn’t want to do that to you.” Video doesn't lie.

Update: Taraji apologizes for "overacting." In a post online, she wrote: “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 over react without gathering all of the facts. As a mother in this case, I over reacted and for that I apologize. Thank you to that officer for being kind to my son. Love Taraji P Henson.”

source: Los Angeles Times
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