“Even if you in a Benz, you still a ni99a in a coupe…”
You’d think Tyler Perry would be a recognizable figure. Especially in ATL, where he is celebrated as one of the biggest stars in the city.
But according to a post on Perry’s Facebook page, he was not recognized by a couple of white police officers during a recent traffic stop. He says he believes he was racially profiled, then let go once a black officer showed up and told the white officers who he was:
The officer came up to the driver’s door and said that I made an illegal turn. I said, “I signaled to get into the turning lane, then made the turn because I have to be sure I’m not being followed.”
Before I could answer him, I heard a hard banging coming from the passenger window. I had never been in this position before so I asked the officer who was at my window what was going on and why is someone banging on the window like that. He said, “let your window down, let your window down. Your windows are tinted.” As I let down the passenger window, there was another officer standing on the passenger side of the car. He said, “what is wrong with you?” The other officer said to him, “He thinks he’s being followed.” Then, the second officer said, “why do you think someone is following you? What is wrong with you?”
Before I could answer the officer on the passenger side, the one on the driver’s side had reached into the car and started pulling on the switch that turns the car on and off, saying, “Put your foot on the brake, put your foot on the brake!” I was so confused as to what he was doing, or what he thought he was doing. It looked like he was trying to pull the switch out of the dashboard. I finally realized that he thought that switch was the key, so I told him that it wasn’t the key he was grabbing. I reached down into the cup holder to get the key, not realizing that the key had a black leather strap on it.
Perry said the cops continued to harass him until a third officer, who, like the actor/director, is black, pulled over to the scene. Perry continued, “He took one look at me and had that ‘Oh No’ look on his face. He immediately took both officers to the back of my car and spoke to them in a hushed tone. After that, one of the officers stayed near his car while one came back, very apologetic.”
Perry pointed to two other cases that he believes involved racial profiling, including the shooting death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. He concluded his essay by writing, “RACIAL PROFILING SHOULD BE A HATE CRIME INVESTIGATED BY THE FBI!!!”
Do you think Tyler Perry was racially profiled by officers? Or is this just his attempt to bring light to a serious situation that many African-Americans deal with on a daily basis?