Actor and stand-up comedian Eric André, along with another Black comedian, U.K. funnyman Clayton English, have filed suit against Clayton County, Georgia over what they claim were “racial profiling and coercive stops” at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
Local ABC News affiliate WSB-TV reports the pair spoke at a press conference detailing their suit, claiming their Fourth and 14th Amendment rights were violated.
English, who lives in Atlanta, claims he was randomly searched on Oct. 30, 2020 when traveling from Atlanta to Los Angeles.
On April 21, 2021, André says he was trying to make the same trip when he was stopped on the jet bridge on the way to the plane.
“I was blocked in a jet bridge by two police officers who interrogated me about drugs,” André said at the press conference. “I didn’t see any other Black people boarding at the time. It’s hard to believe I was selected at ‘random’ for questioning.”
The veteran of The Eric André Show and HBO’s The Righteous Gemstones among other shows called it “a humiliating and degrading experience.”
The attorneys representing the two men are calling for the airport stop program to be terminated.
According to WSB, the lawyers alleged that in the eight months before André’s stop, 56% of the hundreds of passengers stopped by CCPD were recorded as Black. But overall, only 8% of airline passengers in the U.S. are Black.
Barry Friedman, co-founder of the Policing Project at NYU School of Law and the Jacob D. Fuchsberg Professor of Law, commented, “These are cases of flying while Black, plain and simple. Every day in America, people of color are unjustly stopped on the pretense that these encounters are consensual. It is humiliating, it is deeply inappropriate, it is unconstitutional, and it must stop.”
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