Tyler Perry Accuses Atlanta Police of Racial Profiling, Investigation Underway

Filmmaker says two officers acted hostilely toward him for no reason during a traffic stop

By Natalie Finn Apr 04, 2012 11:10 PMTags
Tyler PerryStephen Lovekin/Getty Images

Tyler Perry says he was a victim of some not-so-civil treatment by Atlanta police.

An internal investigation has been launched into the filmmaker and TV producer's claim that two officers acted hostilely toward him during a traffic stop because he is black, and only relented when a black officer showed up and apparently recognized Perry, E! News confirmed Wednesday.

So, what does Perry have to say about the incident?

The Good Deeds director described his version of events in detail on his Facebook page on Sunday, writing that he was driving to the airport from his Atlanta-area studio without his usual security detail and was pulled over for making a left turn from a right lane—a maneuver he attempted to ensure he wasn't being followed.

According to Perry, the officer who approached his window asked, "Why do you think someone would be following you?" After which, he wrote, another cop banged on the passenger-side window.

The second officer, Perry wrote, asked, "What's wrong with you?" and when the driver's-side officer explained that Perry thought he might be followed, the officer repeated, "Why do you think someone is following you? What's wrong with you?"

Before he could answer, Perry recounted, the driver's-side officer ordered him to put his foot on the brake, then reached for the car's on/off switch.

"I finally realized that he thought that switch was the key," Perry wrote, "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 claims that the officers continued to badger him about why he might be followed.

"It was so hostile. I was so confused," he wrote. "It was happening so fast that I could easily see how this situation could get out of hand very quickly. I didn't feel safe at all. But one officer stopped his questioning and said, 'We may not let you go. You think you're being followed, what's wrong with you?' At this point, I told him that I wanted to get out of the car. I wanted the passersby to see what was happening."

When he got out, Perry wrote, another cop pulled up—a black cop—and "took one look" at Perry, "an '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," he continued. "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?"


The Atlanta Police Department said in a statement to E! News that they have confirmed 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 department's 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.

—Additional reporting by Baker Machado and Holly Passalaqua