Photo Credit: Prince Williams/WireImage
Tyler Perry is one of the most powerful entertainers in Hollywood, but that still didn't stop him from being harassed by the police, he says. The Georgia-based filmmaker is accusing the Atlanta police department of treating him in a hostile manner after a run-in over a minor traffic issue. The incident has launched an internal investigation.
According to Perry, he was the victim of racial profiling when two white cops pulled him over and began to treat him in an uncivil manner until an African-American police officer arrived and recognized him, E! News reports.
The Good Deeds director, 42, explained his version of events on his Facebook page on Sunday. He describes in detail that he was driving himself to the airport without his usual security detail and took a precaution his team had taught him in order to ensure no one was following him: turning from the outside lane. After making a left turn from the right lane, two police officers pulled him over, and that's when the harassment started, he says.
Perry claims he explained to the first police officer that he wanted to make sure he wasn't followed, and that he had engaged his signal light before making the turn, but then the second officer started banging on his passenger-side window. When he finally rolled down the window, the second cop said, "What is wrong with you?"
The story goes on to detail how the driver's-side cop reached in to attempt to turn off the ignition, only he wasn't grabbing the correct keys.
"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. As I grabbed it they both tensed up and I dropped it as I heard my mother’s voice from when I was a little boy," Perry writes.
"My mother would always say to me, 'If you get stopped by the police, especially if they are white policemen, you say 'yes sir' and 'no sir,' and if they want to take you in, you go with them. Don't resist, you hear me? Don't make any quick moves, don't run, you just go.'"
Perry says the ill treatment continued until a third cop, who happened to be African American, showed up on the scene, identified him and pulled the two other cops to the back of the car, where he presumably explained who they had been detaining.
He adds: "After that, one of the officers stayed near his car while one came back, very apologetic. I said all of that to say this: Do you see how quickly this could have turned for the worse?"
"RACIAL PROFILING SHOULD BE A HATE CRIME INVESTIGATED BY THE FBI!!!" Perry wrote.
The Atlanta Police Department have acknowledged that Perry was involved in a traffic stop with two officers and that his claims, "as expressed by him publicly," have been referred to the internal Office of Professional Standards.
"OPS has opened an investigation to determine if Mr. Perry's claims can be substantiated, and whether any departmental policies or procedures were violated during the stop," police said.