USC Responds to Taraji P. Henson's Racial Profiling Allegation

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Taraji P. Henson

The university's Department of Public Safety Chief said he was "deeply disturbed" by the allegation.

Empire star Taraji P. Henson's claims that her son was racially profiled near the campus has prompted a response from USC.

The university's Department of Public Safety Chief, John Thomas, released a statement expressing he would like to meet with Henson and her 20-year-old son, Marcel, to discuss the matter further.

"I was deeply disturbed to read news reports about a prospective student who felt profiled on or near campus because of his race," said Chief Thomas. "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."

In a February interview with Uptown magazine, Henson claimed her son was illegally stopped and searched by cops around the USC area. She expressed that after the incident she has decided to send her son to Howard University, a historically black school, instead of USC.

"Police stopped him for having his hands in his pockets," Henson explained. "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 recently took to Twitter to respond to reports and comments about her claim.

Read the full statement from USC DPS Chief John Thomas below.

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.

 

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