USC Responds To Allegations That Taraji P Henson’s Son Was Racially Profiled While On Campus
USC Public Safety has responded to allegations that Taraji P Henson’s son, Marcel, was racially profiled while on the college campus.
Taraji P Henson: “My Child Has Been Racially Profiled”
In a recent interview with Uptown magazine, on which Henson appears on the cover, the Empire actress revealed that her 20-year-old son had already been the victim of racial profiling.
“My child has been racially profiled. He was in Glendale, Calif., 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,” Henson recalled.
Henson added that she refused to pay tuition for USC – a private university – after her son was stopped walking around campus by police “for having his hands in his pockets.”
“So guess where he’s going? Howard University. I’m not paying $50K so I can’t sleep at night wondering, ‘Is this the night my son is getting racially profiled on campus?’” Henson said.
— UPTOWN Magazine (@UPTOWNmagazine) February 11, 2015
USC Department of Public Safety Responds To Henson
After Henson’s remarks were reported, John Thomas, the Director of USC’s Department of Public Safety, responded with a lengthy statement. Thomas said he was surprised and “deeply disturbed” to hear about the incident, claiming that he himself was a victim of racial profiling and takes a special interest in any allegations of racial profiling committed by campus police. Thomas added that he would like the opportunity to speak to Henson and her son about the incident:
“I was deeply disturbed to read news reports about a prospective student who felt profiled on or near campus because of his race. We encourage reporting of allegations of bias and I hope for the opportunity to have a conversation with the younger man and his mother.
I would like to look into this matter further and better understand who was involved and what took place. 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.
It is not clear to me which police departments were involved. Any allegation of bias or unequal treatment by university officers would trigger an investigation that I would supervise along with the university’s Office of Equity and Diversity. It is my expectation and that of the university that our department uphold the highest standards of constitutional policing, affording equal rights and respect to all persons.”
After her comments triggered a bit of backlash, Henson took to Twitter to dismiss any naysayers, writing, “I really don’t care what [people] think about what I do with my life.”
I really don’t care what ppl think about what I do with MY LIFE AND ALL INVOLVED WITH ME!!!!! Give it a rest.
— Taraji P. Henson (@TherealTaraji) March 23, 2015
Henson, who also attended Howard University, declined to comment further on the matter, and a publicist for the actress reportedly asked for privacy for Henson and her son.