Taraji P. Henson has been vocal about her son being racially profiled while visiting the University of Southern California’s campus and now a school representative is speaking out.
Executive director of USC’s Department of Public Safety John Thomas issued a statement addressing the incident, saying that he would like the matter to be investigated and still meet with the actress and her son.
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 young 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.
In an interview with Uptown Magazine, the Empire star said her 20-year-old son, Marcel, was profiled by police when he visited the campus.
“My child has been racially profiled,” said the D.C native. “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. Then he’s at University of Southern California, the school that I was going to transfer him to, when police stopped him for having his hands in his pockets.”
Because of this issue, Henson says her son will attend Howard University, where she also attended.
“I’m not paying $50,000 so I can’t sleep at night wondering is this the night my son is getting racially profiled on campus.”