Film director and TV producer Tyler Perry claims he was a victim of unfair treatment by Atlanta police, E! Online reported.
The "Good Deeds" director—popularly known for his "Madea" alter-ego—says that two officers treated him with hostility and disrespect during a traffic stop because he is an African-American.
According to E! News, the two police officers stopped behaving hostilely only when an African-American officer showed up and reportedly recognized Perry, who is considered one of the most successful figures in the entertainment industry.
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Perry described his version of events in great detail on his Facebook page on Sunday. He claims that he was driving to the airport from his Atlanta-based media studio without his standard security detail in tow when he was pulled over for making a left turn from a right lane — a maneuver he attempted to make sure he wasn't being trailed by someone.
According to Perry's summary, one police officer approached his driver's window and asked, "Why do you think someone would be following you?" At that time, Perry writes, a second cop banged on the passenger's window.
The second officer, according to Perry, asked, "What's wrong with you?" The driver's-side officer, meanwhile, explained that Perry feared he was being followed, after which the second officer repeated, "Why do you think someone is following you? What's wrong with you?"
Before Perry had a chance to answer, the driver's-side officer commanded him to put his foot on the brake, then reached inside the vehicle for the car's on/off switch.
"I finally realized that he thought that switch was the key," Perry writes, "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. 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.
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 officers persisted in questioning why Perry thought he was being followed.
"It was so hostile. I was so confused," Perry recalls.
Soon, an African-American cop arrived at the scene, and seemed — based on "an 'oh no' look on his face" — to recognize the popular entertainer and businessman.
"RACIAL PROFILING SHOULD BE A HATE CRIME INVESTIGATED BY THE FBI!!!" Perry wrote on his Facebook page.
The Atlanta Police Department said in a statement to E! News that the two officers have been referred to the department's Office of Professional Standards.