Comedian Eric Andre Says He Was Racially Profiled At Atlanta Airport: “Be Careful”
Comedian and actor Eric Andre has accused authorities at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport of racially profiling him after he was subjected to a drug search as he boarded a flight to California.
In a series of social media messages to Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and other officials, Andre said he was the only person of color on the Delta 3 terminal jet bridge on Wednesday when two officers in civilian clothes distinguished him for a “random” drug. search. The airport responded to the star of “Bad Trip” report and linked officers to the Clayton County Police Department.
“If anyone has a direct line with the mayor of Atlanta, let me know. Or a good attorney from Atlanta,” Andre wrote on his Instagram story Wednesday. “My constitutional rights have been violated. Clearly racially profiled … I need help.”
“If you know what’s going on at the Atlanta airport, let me know,” he added in a follow-up post which urged his supporters to “be careful there.”
Bottoms acknowledged Andre’s concerns on Wednesday afternoon, tweeting: “Sorry to hear about your experience. I understand this was not ODA, but another of the many agencies working at the airport. We are working to confirm. “
In an update, the “Lion King” actor said he was finally able to board his flight, after authorities released him, and encouraged Atlanta lawyers to contact him. Clayton County Police then released a statement describing the incident as a “consensual encounter”, claiming that “Andre chose to speak to investigators” and “voluntarily consented to a search of his luggage.”
On Twitter, Andre called the Clayton County PD’s response “sad and full of misinformation”, adding that he “did NOT volunteer for a research” and “did not volunteer to speak. “with the officers. He also rebuffed the police department’s claim that he was able to board the plane “without being detained” after authorities determined “there was no reason to continue a conversation” .
“You showed your badge and detained me without probable cause other than racism,” Andre tweeted. “This is JIM CROW RACISM @ClaytonCountyPD I DIDN’T VOLUNTEER FOR A RESEARCH. YOU ARE HARASSING ME. THIS IS RACISM!”
In separate remarks, the airport explained that it is partnering with “several law enforcement agencies at federal, state, regional and local levels” and that “ATL and DPA officials are to meet Clayton County law enforcement officers next week to review proceedings. “
The airport is located primarily in unincorporated areas of Fulton and Clayton counties, approximately seven miles south of downtown Atlanta, but also reaches the city limits of Atlanta, College Park and Hapeville, connecting many jurisdictions.
“Coordination and collaboration is vital, and we are working with all agencies to ensure safe and secure travel,” the airport statement read. “After reviewing Mr. Andre’s tweet this afternoon, we determined that the incident involved officers from the Clayton County Drug Task Force,” which operates separately from the drug interdiction unit of Atlanta Police Airport.
After boarding his flight, Andre traced the event back to the federal government’s “war on drugs”, launched in 1971 by President Nixon and disproportionately targeted Blacks and Latinos. Andre asked Delta via Twitter on Thursday if he knew the Clayton County PD was “harassing their Sky Priority, Gold Medallion, and all of their other loyal customers on their way to their headquarters” and “using racist warfare against them. drugs as an excuse. to hold their Black & Brown clients? “
“Is this the experience they want to create? He tweeted, after urging Clayton County Police to “stop their racial profiling tactics at @ATLairport”.
“I wish they would admit it instead of creating more lies about what happened,” he wrote. “They’re not creating a safer environment – they’re just using the war on drugs as an excuse to harass and oppress POCs.”
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.