American stand-up comedian Eric André has filed a lawsuit against Georgia police after an alleged racial profiling incident at Atlanta Airport.
According to Cover Media, Eric André, along with another comedian Clayton English, submitted documents on Tuesday claiming they were singled out on separate occasions by staff at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport because they were black.
André made a statement talking about how awkward he felt when he was stopped by officers and questioned about drugs before boarding a flight in 2020.
“(People) were gawking at me like I was a perpetrator when I had done nothing wrong. It definitely did not feel like a consensual encounter whatsoever,” he said at a press conference, calling the experience “dehumanizing” and “traumatizing.”
André tweeted that not long after this incident he was “racially profiled” again by two plain clothes police officers for a “random” search, Cover Media reported.
A Clayton County Police Department spokesperson refuted André’s claims and said that he “chose to speak with investigators” and “voluntarily consented to a search of his luggage.”
Clayton English alleged that officers blocked him from boarding his flight in October 2020. English said the officers insisted he hand over his identification and then allow them to search his bag.
“I was almost on the plane when in the jet bridge, two officers popped out, showed their badges and started asking questions, whether I had illegal drugs like cocaine and meth. I felt the need to comply because they made me move to the side of the tunnel where they took my ticket and ID…I felt completely powerless. I felt violated. I felt cornered. I felt like I had to comply if I wanted everything to go smoothly,” he said.
Both André and English have said that their constitutional rights were violated and are seeking a jury trial. They expect to be compensated for damages along with any legal fees incurred.
“I have the resources to bring national attention and international attention to this incident. It’s not an isolated incident,” André said. “If Black people don’t speak up for each other, who will?”
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: ROLLING STONE
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