Actor/comedian Eric Andre said he was racially profiled while in line to depart for a plane at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on Wednesday, by a pair of police officers with the Clayton County Police Department.
The 38-year-old actor said he was in line for his flight when the officers asked for his consent to search his person, which he declined.
The Boca Raton, Florida native took to Twitter to detail the harrowing experience, eventually alerting Vice President Kamala Harris and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms to what had happened to him.
The latest: Actor/comedian Eric Andre said he was racially profiled while in line to depart for a plane at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on Wednesday, by a pair of police officers with the Clayton County Police Department.
‘I was just racially profiled by two plain clothes Atlanta PD police in @Delta terminal T3 at the Atlanta airport,’ he wrote, tagging Atlanta Police. ‘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 that he was the only ‘person of color’ who had been in the airport line when he was confronted.
The Bad Trip actor wrote: ‘They let me go. I’m on the plane in the air. I’m fine now but I want this reported. Please any Atlanta lawyer reach out to me. @KeishaBottoms #racialprofiling #jimcrowgeorgia terminal T3 Atlanta airport.’
Bottoms replied to Andre’s tweet, informing him that the incident had not taken place in the purview of the Atlanta police.
Andre said the incident took place at a terminal in the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport; the airport was snapped in April 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 lockdown
Details: The actor alerted Vice President Kamala Harris and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms to what had happened to him
Andre said that he was the only ‘person of color’ who had been in the airport line when he was confronted
The actor searched for which agency was responsible for the incident
‘Sorry to hear about your experience,’ the mayor wrote. ‘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.’
The Atlanta Police Department said on social media that it was not the agency that was involved in the incident with the actor-comic.
‘The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is somewhat unique in that multiple law enforcement agencies operate there,’ the department said. ‘It appears this incident involved members of another agency. Additionally, members of APD’s Airport Drug Interdiction Unit do not randomly approach travelers and ask to search them.
‘Searches are conducted based on some type of evidence or indication of criminal activity.’
Response: Andre called the Clayton County Police Department’s statement ‘sad and full of misinformation’ and denied that he gave officers consent to search him and said he was ‘detained … with no probable cause except for racism’
Andre denied that he had volunteered to be searched in the incident
The Clayton County Police Department subsequently issued a statement acknowledging it was their agency that had stopped Andre, claiming he had consented to speak with the officers and let them search his belongings.
‘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,’ the statement read. ‘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.
Clayton County officials continued, ‘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 Drug Enforcement Administration and the Atlanta Police Department did not assist in this consensual encounter.’
On the red carpet: Andre was snapped at The Lion King premiere in LA in July 2019
Response: The airport explained in a statement on social media that multiple agencies operate at the travel hub
Andre enlisted the ACLU for assistance in connection with the incident
Andre called the statement ‘sad and full of misinformation’ and denied that he gave officers consent to search him and said he was ‘detained … with no probable cause except for racism.’
‘I did NOT volunteer to a search and I did not volunteer to talk,’ Andre said on Twitter. ‘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! @KeishaBottoms.’
A spokesman for the airport said in a statement that officials with the state of Georgia and Atlanta Police Department were ‘scheduled to meet with Clayton County law enforcement officers next week to review procedures,’ Page Six reported.