Associated Press reports that the comedians are suing the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport officers over their drug search program. The men allege that the airport officers singled and harassed them during stops “six months apart.”
According to the suit, André was stopped while traveling from South Carolina to Los Angeles on Apr. 21, 2020, after completing filming for HBO’s The Righteous Gemstones. The Eric Andre Show star had a layover in Atlanta during his trip and was interrogated by the police.
English, 40, was stopped and searched while flying from Atlanta to Los Angeles on Oct. 30, 2020.
The filed lawsuit alleges that the police “violated their constitutional rights” through unreasonable searches and seizures through racial discrimination.
The actors are seeking a jury trial for the case and have requested that the police’s drug search program be deemed unconstitutional. They are also pursuing compensatory and punitive damages and additional legal costs.
Andre claims the search was because of their race and referred to the alleged targeted drug search as “dehumanizing and demonizing.” “People were gawking at me, and I looked suspicious when I had done nothing wrong,” he said in an interview.
Andre felt a lawsuit was necessary “so these practices can stop and these cops can be held accountable for this because it’s unethical.” As for his decision to sue, he confessed he sensed a “moral calling” to proceed with it.
“I have the resources to bring national and international attention to this incident. It’s not an isolated incident,” he said. “If Black people don’t speak up for each other, who will?”
While the Clayton County Police Department refers to the stops as “consensual encounters,” they stated that their program aims to combat drug trafficking. However, Clayton and Andre’s suit alleges the program “rarely finds drugs,” as the stops “rely on coercion” and “targets are selected disproportionately based on their race.”