'Punky Brewster's' Cherie Johnson says cop racially profiled her and boyfriend Dennis White

cherie-johnson-racial-profiling-south-carolina.jpg Cherie Johnson, who is best known for her roles on TV shows "Punky Brewster" and "Family Matters," encountered a scary situation recently in South Carolina when she was traveling to Myrtle Beach with her boyfriend Dennis White.

The two were pulled over for speeding and then let go. Then a short while later, they had stopped the car to take a picture and another police officer pulled up. White tells "Today's" Maria Shiavocampo that the officer made a move for his gun.

"Cherie, she was like, 'I'm just taking a picture,' and put her hands up, and he grabbed for his gun and said, 'Get in the car,'" says White.

"At that point, I was kind of like, 'Whoa,'" says Johnson. She adds, "I said, 'Sir, are you doing this because we're black?' He kind of just patted the car, gave me a look, and walked to his car. The next thing I knew, he was putting on his gloves, and he was handcuffing Dennis. I couldn't understand why he was handcuffing. We didn't do anything wrong."

The couple says that the cop initially claimed there was a warrant out for Johnson's arrest and then later accused them of having drugs in the car. When Johnson asked what his probably cause was to search the vehicle, she says he told her "there could be a dead body in the trunk. That was the only probably cause he gave."

The officer let them go after searching the car and later said there was no warrant out for Johnson's arrest. The Marion County sheriff's office has released a statement saying it will take "immediate and appropriate action" to investigate their allegations of racial profiling, which is "strictly prohibited."

White tells "Today" that he felt "there was nothing" they could've done to prevent the situation and Johnson adds that she was praying -- "I was scared for our lives."
Photo/Video credit: Getty Images
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