ATLANTA — An actor and comedian took to Twitter on Wednesday to say he was racially profiled while traveling through Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
Eric Andre said he was “racially profiled by two plain clothes Atlanta PD police in Delta terminal T3 at the Atlanta airport. They stopped me on the way down the bridge to the plane for a ‘random’ search and asked they could search me for drugs. I told them no.”
Andre also tagged Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms in the tweets.
She responded, saying, “Sorry to hear about your experience. 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.”
Atlanta police also released a statement, saying:
“The Atlanta Police Department became aware of Mr. Andre’s social media posts, prior to news media reaching out to us. As soon as we learned of Mr. Andre’s complaint, we began gathering information on what occurred. We have determined the Atlanta Police Department was not involved in this interaction. The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is somewhat unique in that multiple law enforcement agencies operate there. It appears this incident involved members of another agency. Additionally, members of APD’s Airport Drug Interdiction Unit do not randomly approach travelers and ask to search them. Searches are conducted based on some type of evidence or indication of criminal activity.”
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Andre later tweeted he thought it may have been agents of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency who stopped him, but DEA confirmed to Channel 2 Action News that the agency had nothing to do with the incident.
In a statement, a representative with the airport told Channel 2 that members of the Clayton County Drug Task Force stopped Andre.
“Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) is served by multiple law enforcement agencies at the federal, state, county, and local level. Coordination and collaboration are vital, and we work with all agencies to ensure safe and secure travel. After learning of Mr. Andre’s tweet this afternoon, we determined that the incident involved officers from the Clayton County Drug Task force. The task force operates separately from the Atlanta Police Airport Drug Interdiction Unit. Officials from ATL and APD are scheduled to meet with Clayton County law enforcement officers next week to review procedures.”
Channel 2 contacted Clayton County police. They sent a statement Wednesday night, saying:
“On April 21, 2021, the Clayton County Police Department made a consensual encounter with a male traveler, later identified as Eric Andre, as he was preparing to fly to California from the Atlanta Airport. 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. 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. Mr. Andre boarded the plane without being detained and continued on his travels. The Drug Enforcement Administration and the Atlanta Police Department did not assist in this consensual encounter.”
Andre responded on Twitter saying he did no volunteer to a search.