Comedian Eric Andre took to Twitter on Wednesday to share an alleged racial profiling incident that unfolded while he was waiting for his flight.
The “Bad Trip” star said two officers stopped him for a “random” drug search while he was boarding a plane that was set to depart from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
In a series of tweets — some sent directly to the city’s mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms — Andre wrote, “I was just racially profiled by two plain clothes Atlanta PD police in @Delta terminal T3 at the Atlanta airport. They stopped me on the way down the bridge to the plane for a ‘random’ search and asked they could search me for drugs. I told them no. Be careful.”
Andre said he was the only person of color in line when the incident occurred. While the 38-year-old actor insisted he’s fine, he demanded to know the officers’ names so he could file a complaint.
After some investigating, Bottoms replied to Andre on her Twitter feed to let him know that the agents who stopped him were not members of the Atlanta Police Department. “It’s my understanding that this was not APD, but another one of the many agencies working in the airport. We are working to confirm,” she wrote.
The representatives for the airport responded in a statement via Twitter, writing that the airport “is served by multiple law enforcement agencies at the federal, state, county, and local level.”
“After learning of Mr. Andre’s tweet this afternoon, we determined that the incident involved officers from the Clayton County Drug Task Force,” the airport’s statement continued, adding that this entity “operates separately” from internal teams. “Officials from ATL and APD are scheduled to meet with Clayton County law enforcement officers next week to review procedures.”
Clayton County Police Department also responded in a statement posted to their Facebook page, writing: “On April 21, 2021, the Clayton County Police Department made a consensual encounter with a male traveler, later identified as Eric Andre, as he was preparing to fly to California from the Atlanta Airport.”
“Mr. Andre chose to speak with investigators during the initial encounter. During the encounter, Mr. Andre voluntarily provided the investigators information as to his travel plans. Mr. Andre also voluntarily consented to a search of his luggage but the investigators chose not to do so. Investigators identified that there was no reason to continue a conversation and therefore terminated the encounter. Mr. Andre boarded the plane without being detained and continued on his travels,” the statement continued, adding that the “Drug Enforcement Administration and the Atlanta Police Department did not assist in this consensual encounter.”
Andre responded to Clayton County Police Department’s statement, saying it “isn’t true” and calling it “sad and full of misinformation.” The “Lion King” star said he feels as though his rights were “violated.”
“I did NOT volunteer to a search and I did not volunteer to talk. You guys flashed your badge and detained me with no probable cause except for racism. This is JIM CROW RACISM @ClaytonCountyPD I DID NOT VOLUNTEER TO A SEARCH. YOU ARE HARASSING ME. THIS IS RACISM!”
“I really hope that the @ClaytonCountyPD stop their racial profiling tactics at @ATLairport,” Andre also tweeted. “I wish they owned up to it instead of creating more lies about what happened. They’re not creating a safer environment – just using the War on Drugs as an excuse to harass and oppress POC.”
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