Actor and comedian Eric Andre chronicled a troubling encounter with law enforcement Wednesday, as he claimed he was racially profiled while on his way to a departing flight at Atlanta’s main airport.
Andre made a series of posts to Twitter recounting the incident, with the “Disenchantment” actor saying he was stopped for a random drug search by two Atlanta police officers.
“I was just racially profiled by two plainclothes Atlanta PD officers in Delta terminal T3 at 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,” he wrote.
He later confirmed that he was safely on a flight out of Georgia, but tagged Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms in his post, clearly indicating that he wanted further investigation into the matter.
“They let me go,” Andre posted. “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.”
“At that moment, I was the only POC on line. @KeishaBottoms I know this isn’t the PD you want representing in your airports.”
Andre inquired about the officers’ names, requesting the information from anyone at the T3 gate so that he could file a formal complaint.
In another series of tweets, it appeared that Andre was informed that Atlanta PD had not stopped him, and he surmises that it could possibly have been the Drug Enforcement Administration. However, later that day, a statement was released by the Clayton County Police Department in response to Andre’s allegations.
In the statement, Clayton County PD confirmed that their officers had a “consensual” encounter with Andre, during which they stated he voluntarily “provided the investigators information as to his travel plans” and “consented to a search of his luggage” although, according to the statement, “the investigators chose not to do so.”
CCPD continued by saying they found “no reason to continue the conversation and terminated the encounter.” It was noted at the end that neither the DEA nor the Atlanta Police Department took part in the encounter.
Andre’s tweets in response were livid, calling the statement “sad” and “full of misinformation.” He instead maintained that he was “violated” and that the encounter was not consensual.
“I did NOT volunteer to a search and I did not volunteer to talk,” he wrote. “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!”
Andre continued to tag Mayor Bottoms in his tweets, and the tactic eventually bore fruit with the confirmation that she was indeed looking into the situation on his behalf.
“Sorry to hear about your experience,” she tweeted. “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.”
Later that afternoon, Andre retweeted a statement that Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport — which this year fell to No. 2 after being ranked the busiest airport in the world for 22 consecutive years — issued concerning the incident, verifying that Clayton County’s Drug Task Force had encountered Andre, and “officials from ATL and APD are scheduled to meet with Clayton County law enforcement officers next week to review procedures.”
However, the announcement did not placate Andre, who later posted, “I really hope that the @ClaytonCountyPD stop their racial profiling tactics at @ATLairport. 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.”
“Does @Delta know that @ClaytonCountyPD is harassing their sky priority, Gold Medallion, and all their other loyal customer on their way to their seats?” he continued in another post. “Using the racist war on drugs as an excuse to detain their Black & Brown customers? Is that the experience they want to create?”