ATLANTA (AP) — A comedian called it racial profiling, but a police department working at Atlanta’s airport describes what happened as a “consensual encounter.”
Comedian Eric Andre on Wednesday told his 700,000-plus Twitter followers that he believed he had been racially profiled when officers pulled him aside in a terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and asked to search him for drugs. He said he was the only person of color in line to board at the time. Andre said he refused a search and was allowed to board his plane.
The Clayton County Police Department denies any wrongdoing, although it did not say why its officers chose to speak to Andre.
“Mr. Andre chose to speak with investigators during the initial encounter,” the department said in a statement released to local news outlets. “During the encounter, Mr. Andre voluntarily provided the investigators information as to his travel plans. 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.”
Andre initially said the officers were with the Atlanta Police Department and then said they were with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Both agencies told local news outlets they were not involved.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, whom Andre tagged in multiple tweets, replied noting that multiple law enforcement agencies work at the airport.
The comedian is featured on the “The Eric Andre Show” on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim and noted much of his movie “Bad Trip” had been filmed in Atlanta.