Eric Andre Says He Was Racially Profiled, Searched by Police at Atlanta Airport: 'This Is Racism'
Comedian Eric Andre said in a series of tweets on Wednesday that he was racially profiled by police officers at Atlanta Hartsfield–Jackson International Airport.
The Bad Trip star, 38, detailed the experience on social media, saying he was stopped to be searched for drugs.
Andre initially believed the search was conducted by the Atlanta Police Department.
"I was just racially profiled by two plain clothes Atlanta PD police in @Delta terminal T3 at the Atlanta airport," he tweeted, tagging Atlanta PD. "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 able to get on the plane, but demanded answers from various law enforcement agencies and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.
"They let me go. I'm on the plane in the air. I'm fine now but I want this reported," he tweeted. "Please any Atlanta lawyer reach out to me. @KeishaBottoms #racialprofiling #jimcrowgeorgia terminal T3 Atlanta airport."
He continued, "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."
In response, the Atlanta Police Department released a statement saying their officers were not involved in Andre's incident.
"Once APD learned of @ericandre's complaint, we began investigating & learned APD was NOT involved. Multiple law enforcement agencies operate from @ATLairport & this involved another agency," the agency said. "APD does not randomly search travelers without evidence/indication of criminal activity."
In response, Andre said, "So glad to hear Atlanta PD doesn't operate like this, but who was the agency that interrogated me and why does ATL allow an agency with those kinds of random search rules to operate in one of the busiest airports in the world?"
The Clayton County Police Department later identified themselves as the agency involved in the issue.
"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 department stated.
The Clayton County PD claimed, "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 Drug Enforcement Administration and the Atlanta Police Department did not assist in this consensual encounter," the statement concluded.
Andre hit back at the claim, writing, "This is sad and full of misinformation @KeishaBottoms please help me. @ClaytonCountyPD violated my rights."
He added, "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," Andre wrote. "YOU ARE HARASSING ME. THIS IS RACISM! @KeishaBottoms."
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The Clayton County PD released another statement Thursday explaining the random searches occur "frequently during our officers' course of duties, and is supported by Georgia Law and the U.S. Constitution" and countered Andre's claim that he was detained.
"The interaction between Mr. Andre and our officers lasted for approximately 2 to 3 minutes, and he was able to make his normally scheduled flight on time. I would like to reiterate that Mr. Andre was never placed in handcuffs or detained at any point during their interaction," Chief Kevin Roberts wrote.
The statement continued, "I also, want to share that the Clayton County Police Departments Standard Operating Procedures prohibits selection of individuals based solely on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, economic status, age, cultural group, or any other identifiable groups in which a person belongs."
"Our preliminary findings have revealed that Mr. Andre was not racially profiled. Our inquiries have revealed that Mr. Andre was cordial, personable and pleasant to speak with," the statement concluded. "