Eric Andre Shares Update on Racial Profiling Lawsuit Against Georgia's Clayton County Police Department

"Not only other Black people were reaching out to me, but other Black comedians that I knew were also being targeted."

BY Calum SlingerlandPublished Sep 14, 2023

Last October, Eric Andre moved to sue police in Clayton County, GA, concerning alleged racial profiling by plainclothes officers at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in 2021, and the comedian has now shared an update on the legal proceedings in conversation with Samantha Bee.

Andre was asked about the lawsuit, filed by himself and associate Clayton English, in a recent appearance on Lemonada Media podcast Choice Words with Samantha Bee. Recounting the incident to the Canadian-American comedian, and sharing how public data disproved Clayton County Police Department's claims that passengers stopped on the jet bridge are selected at random, Andre explained how his legal filing led him to discover just how long such treatment has been going on.

"We uncovered this whole system of racial harassment and racial profiling that the Clayton County Police Department was doing. And then I found out, not only other Black people were reaching out to me, but other Black comedians that I knew were also being targeted," Andre shared.

The comedian, who has hosted Season 6 of his Eric Andre Show and ABC's The Prank Panel this year, added how he "heard that after I went public with their policy that they stopped for a while. But I just heard that recently they started back up again and they're shaking black people down for money."

Andre shared that he heard how officers reportedly "will pull you out of the line, be like, 'Do you have any drugs or anything?' If you even have like a little bit of weed or whatever, they will be like, 'We can either take you to jail right now, or give us all the cash you have on you.'" 

Acknowledging the slowness of the process, and the likelihood that the Clayton County Police Department would try to have the suit dismissed, Andre also spoke about his decision to make the filing, sharing with Bee, "I'm a firm believer in local politics, and you might not be able to change the world, but you can change little corners of it. And I want to be able to use my platform to stick up for people that don't have my platform or resources."

"Some people were like, 'well, whatever, you didn't get beat up by the cops,' but I was like, 'why do I have to get to a Rodney King level to feel the wrath of being treated like a second class citizen within my own country? If they're doing that to me, what are they doing to other people?' Like, I can't say what they're doing… And that's what activism is. I think people confuse what activism is. I think people confuse passive-aggressive cyberbullying for activism. So I'm like, no, this is what it is."

Andre's Choice Words appearance also finds him discussing his abandoned jazz aspirations, bombing while opening for Chris Rock, moving back to New York and more. You can catch the complete episode here, with the lawsuit discussion beginning shortly after the 37-minute mark.

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