Comedian Eric Andre has claimed that he was racially profiled by police officers in an Atlanta airport before he boarded a flight on Wednesday, April 21.
"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 [if] they could search me for drugs. I told them no. Be careful," Andre tweeted.
"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," the 38-year-old added later.
"At that moment, I was the only POC on line. @KeishaBottoms I know this isn’t the PD you want representing in your airports. #racism #racialprofiling #jimcrow #racistwarondrugs @delta," the Bad Trip star added.
"The Atlanta Police Department became aware of Mr. Andre’s social media posts, prior to news media reaching out to us. As soon as we learned of Mr. Andre’s complaint, we began gathering information on what occurred. We have determined the Atlanta Police Department was not involved in this interaction," the Atlanta Police Department told Variety.
"The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is somewhat unique in that multiple law enforcement agencies operate there. 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," the statement concluded.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance responded to Andre via Twitter. "Sorry to hear about your experience. It’s my understanding that this was not APD, but another one of the many agencies working in the airport," she tweeted. "We are working to confirm."
The Clayton County Police Department later issued a statement on the matter, writing that Andre "chose to speak with investigators during the initial encounter" and that he "voluntarily consented to a search of his luggage."
However, Andre disagreed with the statement from the Clayton County Police Department, which also said he "voluntarily provided investigators information as to his travel plans."
Tweeting the statement, Andre wrote, "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."
"Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) is served by multiple law enforcement agencies at the federal, state, county, and local level. Coordination and collaboration are vital, and we work with all agencies to ensure safe and secure travel," Atlanta International Airport said in a statement.
The statement continued: "After learning of Mr. Andre's tweet this afternoon, we determined that the incident involved officers from the Clayton County Drug Taskforce. The task force operates separately from the Atlanta Police Airport Drug Interdiction Unit. Officials from ATL and APD are scheduled to meet with Clayton County law enforcement officers next week to review procedures."