African-American comedians Eric Andre and Clayton English have filed a lawsuit alleging racial profiling at the Atlanta airport. In April 2021, Andre was stopped at the airport by law enforcement officials, and the same thing befell upon English only a few months earlier.
In a press conference, Andre said, “Police officers came out of nowhere in like, almost like an ambush style and started, singled me out. I was the only person of color on the jet bridge at the time”. He further added, “They singled me out. They asked me if I was selling drugs, transporting drugs, what kind of drugs I have on me”.
In the lawsuit Andre and English have since filed, it is alleged that African-American people are being targeted at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport by Clayton County Police Department as a part of an anti-drug trafficking initiative.
Andre further insisted in the press conference, “It was clearly racial profiling. The experience was humiliating and dehumanizing, degrading, I had all the other passengers squeezing by me on this claustrophobic jet bridge gawking at me like I was a perpetrator”.
It was in October 2020 when English was stopped after clearing the TSA screening while he was travelling to Los Angeles. “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 I feel cornered in a jet bridge and I felt the need to comply”, he said.
According to WSB-TV, the Clayton County Police Department denied that there was any wrongdoing on their part in regard to searching English. The department had also released a statement after these allegations were made, and said that both searches were consensual.
The comedians countered the claim, saying that any stopping of an individual at an airport in a post-9/11 world must be seen as being essential.