Clayton police: Comedian Eric Andre ‘not racially profiled’ in airport incident

Star continues to question authorities on social media
Eric Andre says he was racially profiled by police at the Atlanta airport.

Eric Andre says he was racially profiled by police at the Atlanta airport.

A day after comedian Eric Andre said he was racially profiled at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the police department involved in the incident released a statement disputing the TV star’s account.

The comedian, known for his Adult Swim program “The Eric Andre Show” on Atlanta-based Cartoon Network, brought national attention to the encounter when he shared his experience with his nearly 775,000 Twitter followers Wednesday. Hours later, the officers involved were revealed to be part of the Clayton County Police Department’s drug task force.

In a series of tweets, Andre described being stopped on the jetway to his plane at the airport’s T gates and being subjected to a search, claiming he was the only person of color in line to board the flight to California. He initially mentioned the Atlanta Police Department and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, prompting quick responses from both.

In a statement released Thursday afternoon, Clayton County police offered a counter-narrative to Andre’s claims, saying the comedian was never detained, handcuffed or searched.

“Our preliminary findings have revealed that Mr. Andre was not racially profiled,” the statement said. “Our inquiries have revealed that Mr. Andre was cordial, personable and pleasant to speak with.”

Andre has continued to pressure Clayton police on social media, directly disputing the agency’s initial statement and tagging Bottoms in his tweets.

“I did NOT volunteer to a search and I did not volunteer to talk. You guys flashed your badge and detained me with no probable cause except for racism,” Andre tweeted Wednesday evening.

No one else was involved in the incident and, so far, no witnesses have shared alternate accounts about what happened between Andre and the officers.

His initial tweets caused confusion among law enforcement and airport officials, in part because so many jurisdictions include the airport. The facility “is served by multiple law enforcement agencies at the federal, state, county and local level,” Hartsfield-Jackson spokesman Andy Gobeil told the AJC. “Coordination and collaboration are vital, and we work with all agencies to ensure safe and secure travel.”

After first questioning the APD, Andre turned his sights on the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, which also denied any involvement in short order.

“I am (confirming) that DEA was not involved with this incident,” administration spokesman Chuvalo Truesdell told the AJC. “It was apparently one of the local law enforcement agencies.”

By the time the DEA responded, Andre had tweeted a series of excerpts from a blog post about the creation of the agency during President Richard Nixon’s administration. The post, based on the independently published book “You Will Die: The Burden of Modern Taboos” by Richard Arthur, posits that Nixon started the DEA out of racist fear toward Black Americans.

After Clayton police officers were identified as the ones involved in the interaction with Andre, the comedian continued his social media campaign, questioning the department about its policies and continuing to tag Bottoms and others, including Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines.

Nearly all of Andre’s tweets for two days have centered on his experience, many of them racking up thousands of likes. He has also promoted his recently released movie on Netflix, “Bad Trip,” a film based on real-life pranks and interactions, similar in concept to the “Borat” movies.

Representatives from Andre’s talent agency and Cartoon Network have not responded to requests for comment from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

— The Atlanta Journal-Constitution would like to hear from anyone who witnessed this encounter. Please contact us at