Atlanta police, mayor respond to Eric Andre’s claims of racism at airport

"Sorry to hear about your experience," Mayor Keisha Bottoms tweeted after being tagged by Andre and his fans.

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Comic actor Eric Andre claimed that he was the victim of racial profiling at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Wednesday. 

In a series of tweets, Andre shared that he was selected for a random drug screening and that at the point of the interaction, he was the only person of color in line. 

Comic actor Eric Andre, shown at the Netflix Adult Animation Q&A and Reception in April 2019, was recently very open about a racial profiling experience he said he had in Atlanta’s airport. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Netflix)

He tagged the Atlanta Police Department, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Delta Airlines. 

He also posited that it was possibly the Drug Enforcement Agency that stopped him and tweeted another series of screeds about the history of America’s War on Drugs. 

A spokesperson for the DEA told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution it was not involved in the incident. Atlanta Police also stated that they were not engaged, and they also added that Atlanta’s Drug Interdiction Unit does not randomly approach or search travelers. 

The Clayton County Police Department issued a press release yesterday evening, writing: “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,” officials stated. “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.”

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In response to their statement, Andre said it was “wrong” and full of “misinformation.” 

“I did NOT volunteer to a search and I did not volunteer to talk,” he wrote on Twitter. “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!” 

Mayor Bottoms commented on Twitter after being tagged in repeated posts by the comedian and his fans.

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“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.” 

The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport issued a statement on the incident, confirming that Andre had an interaction with Clayton County’s Drug Task Force, maintaining that it is one of many agencies that operate within its grounds. They added that “officials from ATL and APD are scheduled to meet with Clayton County law enforcement officers to review procedures.” 

Andre retweeted their response.

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