Atlanta police are investigating an allegation by filmmaker Tyler Perry that he was a victim of racial profiling when he was stopped by city police last month.
According to Perry, police said he made an illegal turn when he turned left from the right lane. He was driving a car with tinted windows after leaving his southwest Atlanta studios near Greenbriar Mall. Perry said he made the maneuver to determine whether he was being followed.
Perry, named the highest paid entertainer by Forbes magazine, wrote on his Facebook fan page Sunday that he was “badgered” by two white police officers. Perry, who is black, said he was left shaken after one officer banged on the passenger side window to get him to roll it down and the other officer tried to turn off the car engine.
The two officers who stopped Perry did not recognize him, Perry wrote on Facebook, and questioned why he felt he might be followed. It was not until a third officer, who is black, arrived, recognized Perry and told his colleagues of Perry’s celebrity status that tensions apparently subsided. Perry was not issued a ticket.
Perry did not file a formal complaint with APD but wrote of the incident on Facebook, which received about 20,000 comments as of Wednesday. Repeated attempts by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution to get details from Perry’s publicist were unsuccessful.
A spokesman for the Atlanta Police Department confirmed that Perry was stopped by two of its officers. The matter has been turned over to APD’s Office of Professional Standards to see whether any department policies or procedures were violated, APD spokesman Carlos Campos said.
Examples of racial profiling include the use of race to determine which drivers to stop for minor traffic violations, commonly referred to as “driving while black or brown,” according to the American Civil Liberties Union’s website.
“That’s not something we condone in any shape, form or fashion,” APD’s Campos said. “If Mr. Perry would like to file a formal complaint, we welcome that.”
The officers involved in the incident are still on duty, Campos said.