Comedians Eric André & Clayton English Sue Atlanta’s Clayton County For Alleged Racial Discrimination At Local Airport

Eric André and Clayton English

Comedians Eric André & Clayton English Sue Atlanta’s Clayton County For Alleged Racial Discrimination At Local Airport

Eric André and Clayton English are suing a county in Atlanta following what they call racial profiling and coercive searches on jet bridges at the local airport.

The comedians allege that, on two separate occasions, their constitutional rights against unreasonable searches, seizures, and racial discrimination were violated in 2020 as they boarded their individual flights a the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Their federal lawsuit names several people, including Clayton County and several CCPD officers.

Eric André and Clayton English claim that since they are Black, authorities singled them out during stops around six months apart and interrogated them about narcotics as other passengers watched. The officers allegedly blocked their path as they entered the jet bridge and asked if they were carrying illegal drugs, in addition to checking their IDs and boarding passes.

In a statement, Eric André said,

“I was blocked in a jet bridge by two police officers who interrogated me about drugs. I didn’t see any other Black people boarding at the time. It’s hard to believe I was selected at ‘random’ for questioning. It was a humiliating and degrading experience.”

André previously shared his account about the incident with CCPD at an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live in April 2021. He said,

“I’m in the Atlanta Airport Delta Lounge drinking a piña colada, enjoying myself. They swipe my ticket, I go to the gate, they’re like, ‘Hey, welcome aboard.’ I’m down the little, narrow, awkward jet bridge. Two cops appear — these two white cops — on that little, awkward, narrow jet bridge and they whip out their badge, like, Hawaii Five-O style and they’re like, ‘Come with me.’ And I’m, like, business class so I’m the only brown person there. So clearly they’re, like, singling me out. It’s, like, all white businessmen and then me.”

According to a Facebook post from CCPD posted in April of last year, André chose to talk with investigators during the initial contact and “voluntarily consented” to a search of his luggage — which the police ultimately did not conduct. They said,

“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.”
CCPD Response to Eric André

According to Julia Isaac, a spokeswoman for the Clayton County police, the agency declines to comment on ongoing legal matters.

The comedians urge the court to deem the Clayton County police’s jet bridge interdiction policy unlawful. They’re also requesting a jury trial, compensatory and punitive damages, and legal fees.

What are your thoughts on the entire situation? Let us know in the comments!


Authored by: S. G.