Photo: Getty
  /  10.12.2022

Eric André’s encounter with police last year is not a laughing matter, nor is his legal action. On Tuesday (Oct. 11), the comedian held a press conference where he announced he was filing a lawsuit against the Clayton County Police Department (CCPD).

André and Clayton English filed the suit, calling the court to declare it unconstitutional for police officers to question and search passengers on the bridges between their gate and the airplane. Lawyers defending the lawsuit allege that the Clayton County Police Department and the Clayton County District Attorney’s Office are using a program that fails to meet the requirements of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments.

“CCPD calls these stops ‘consensual encounters’ and ‘random,'” the lawsuit states. “They are neither; the CCPD jet bridge interdictions rely on coercion, and targets are selected disproportionately based on their race.”

In April 2021, André took to his Twitter and revealed that two plainclothes officers asked him if he had illegal drugs on the jet bridge during a layover in Atlanta. Officers continued to question him after he denied having drugs. According to the actor, there was only one Black person on the jet bridge.

The CCPD released a statement following the actor’s tweet, calling it a “consensual encounter.”

“Mr. André chose to speak with investigators during the initial encounter,” the police department wrote. “During the encounter, Mr. André voluntarily provided the investigators information as to his travel plans. Mr. André also voluntarily consented to a search of his luggage but the investigators chose not to do so.”

You can read Eric André’s 2021 tweet and CCPD’s statement down below:

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