The Atlanta Police Department has launched an internal investigation about filmmaker Tyler Perry's allegations that he was a victim of a racial profiling incident last month after he took an illegal turn while driving to the airport from his Atlanta studio on Sunday.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Perry has not yet filed a formal complaint with the police department and was not issued a ticket, however, he wrote about the incident in detail on his Facebook fan page.
According to Perry, two white police officers stopped him after he made an illegal left turn from the right lane, as a way to ensure that his vehicle wasn't being followed because he was did not have his usual unmarked escort with him. One officer then approached his vehicle. After he told his story, the office asked him Why do you think someone would be following you? The second officer reportedly banged on the passenger window and said let your window down, let your window down. Your windows are tinted.
The two officers then spoke amongst themselves, repeating Perry's explanation about why he had made the illegal turn. The officer at the driver's side asked him what's wrong with you, and before he could answer, the officer started pulling on the car's on/off switch, saying put your foot on the break, put your foot on the break. Perry recounted that he was very confused about the officer's actions at the time.
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 recalled that the officers continued to badger him, and that the incident was so hostile. The officers questioned him until one officer said we may not let you go. You think you're being followed, what's wrong with you? Then Perry told the officer that he wanted to get out of the car just as another police officer pulled up. The officer was black, took one look at Perry with an an 'oh no' look on his face, then called the other officers to the side and spoke to them in a hushed tone.
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? Perry wrote, then made statements about racial profiling in the country, the stand your ground law, and concluded the story by asserting RACIAL PROFILING SHOULD BE A HATE CRIME INVESTIGATED BY THE FBI!!!
The Atlanta Police Department has confirmed that Perry was stopped by two police officer to E! News, and said that the publicly recounted story has been forwarded 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.