Eric André has filed a lawsuit against Clayton County, Georgia officials over alleged racial profiling.
On Tuesday, The Eric Andre Show star and fellow comedian Clayton English submitted documents in a federal court in Atlanta in which they claimed they were singled out by officers at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on different occasions because they are Black.
In a statement, André alleged he was illegally stopped in April 2020 and questioned over drugs shortly before he was due to board a flight.
“(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 “dehumanising” and “traumatising”.
Shortly after the alleged incident, André tweeted that he was “racially profiled” by two plain clothes police officers and stopped for a “random” search.
In response, a Clayton County Police Department spokesperson insisted André “chose to speak with investigators” and “voluntarily consented to a search of his luggage”.
Meanwhile, English claimed officers blocked him from boarding his flight in October 2020, asked him to hand over identification, and searched 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 stated.
In the lawsuit, André and English claim the police program violated their constitutional rights. They are seeking a jury trial as well as damages and legal costs.
A spokesperson for Clayton County declined to comment on the lawsuit.
– Cover Media