Two Black Comedians Sue Police Over Search at Atlanta Airport
One of the passengers on their flight to Atlanta to perform at an immigration fundraiser was arrested last week after reportedly trying to fly out of the airport, prompting two Black comedy artists to sue the Atlanta police department and the city to prevent their arrest.
According to a GoFundMe page created for the two men, who went by the names of “Chop” and “Sung,” police officers arrived at the airport at around 4 p.m. one evening last week and requested to see their boarding passes, which they refused to show without a warrant.
After several minutes of refusing to do so, the police arrested both men, claiming that the airline company that owns them had provided no boarding passes before the men arrived in Atlanta.
The artists claim that “Chop” was handcuffed to the wall and arrested by two police officers and was not allowed to explain why he needed to get to Atlanta to be arrested. After about 15 minutes, the men were released.
According to the GoFundMe page, one of the reasons behind the arrests was that the police wanted to conduct a second search at the airport before their flight to the fundraiser in Atlanta, which was later cancelled.
When they returned to their hotel several hours later, the two comedy artists were met by police officers demanding access to their phone and laptop. They also received a subpoena for their email.
The GoFundMe page has received morethan $3,500 towards the cost of the tickets to perform at the immigration fundraiser.
In a statement to Variety, the Atlanta police department said that the arrests were “in accordance with state and federal law.”
“Upon arrival at the airport the officers attempted to obtain boarding passes for the two individuals that attended our fundraiser. Because neither of these individuals had any boarding passes, they were placed under arrest,” the statement said. “The officers were in uniform at the time they entered the airport and did not have any other contact with the individuals.”
“Due to the nature of these individuals’ occupations, we are extremely concerned that one of them could pose a threat during or shortly following this event,” the statement continued. “Given that all passengers are subject to searches upon their arrival, the officers had no choice but to enter the airport and conduct