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Tyler Perry Pens Op-Ed In Response to Airport Racial Profiling

Tyler Perry Pens Op-Ed In Response to Airport Racial Profiling

Tyler Perry penned an op-ed on Wednesday speaking out against alleged racial discrimination experienced by his friends, comedians Eric André and Clayton English.

In his column, published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Perry addresses a lawsuit filed earlier this year alleging that both André and English were unlawfully stopped by authorities at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. Earlier this year, Perry and several other actors — including Jamie Foxx, Taraji P. Henson, Sterling K. Brown and Rege-Jean Page — filed a friend-of-the-court brief as part of the suit.

“André and English were targeted and stopped by Clayton County Police Department (CCPD) officers, several months apart, on jet bridges in Atlanta’s airport while they were steps from boarding their flights,” Perry wrote. 

Despite the fact that both men had been cleared by TSA security, Perry wrote that the comedians were approached in plain-clothed police officers, alleging they were targeted because of “the color of their skin.”

“Of the hundreds of passengers stopped by CCPD’s special airport drug unit in the months between when André and English were stopped, a majority (56%) were Black, while only 8% of that airport’s domestic air travelers are Black,” he continued, citing information from André and English’s team at the Policing Project at New York University School of Law, as well as Jones Day, Lawrence & Bundy and Canfield Law.

Perry went on to claim that the officers may have stopped his friends with the intent of taking their money, alleging that when authorities stop travelers, “officers are allowed to seize any property they claim is involved in a crime, including cash.”

Per his report, “In the months between when André and English were stopped, CCPD raked in close to $1 million from travelers who never were charged with any crime.”

The media mogul concluded with a broader note about racism in America, writing that “law enforcement agencies engaging in racial profiling and trying to hide the truth about it is nothing new in this country. Still, each time it happens, we are reminded that, as Black people, we are viewed — even by our own government — as less worthy of respect and constitutional protection than our white friends, neighbors and colleagues. And when we are singled out by police, the very officials who have sworn to protect us, we are faced with the very real horrors of what can and all too often does go wrong when police officers interact with Black people.”

He added, “every act of racial discrimination is a broken promise, an affront to our dignity, an insult to Atlanta’s history and a vestige of a history that America must leave behind.”

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Perry also noted that his film studio, located in Atlanta, welcomes “thousands of industry professionals every year to work in Atlanta.”

“When racial discrimination occurs unchecked, it threatens that growth,” Perry wrote. ” Black people must have the freedom to travel without worrying about being stopped because of the color of our skin.”

The Hollywood Reporter reached out to the Atlanta airport and Clayton County Police Department for comment.

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