He may be one of the most successful black men in Hollywood, but that doesn't mean Tyler Perry is exempt from racial profiling. The Good Deeds actor/director/producer was recently the victim of a scary traffic stop at the hands of white police officers near his Atlanta, Georgia base -- and a bad situation was only prevented from getting worse by the arrival of a black officer.
On his Facebook page, Perry explained:
"A few days before President Obama was supposed to speak at my studio, I was leaving the studio, headed to the airport. Most times when I leave the studio I have an unmarked escort. Other times I constantly check in my rearview mirror to be sure that I'm not being followed. It's a safety precaution that my security team taught me. As I got to an intersection, I made a left turn from the right lane and was pulled over by two police officers. I pulled the car over and put it in park. Then, I let the window down and sat in the car waiting for the officer. 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.' He said, 'Why do you think someone would be following you?'"
"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," Perry explained. "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?'"
"The officer on the driver's side continued to badger me, 'Why do you think someone is following you?' I then said, 'I think you guys need to just write the ticket and do whatever you need to do.' It was so hostile. I was so confused. 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."
"As I stepped out of the car another officer pulled up in front of my car. This officer was a black guy. 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."
"I said all of that to say this: Do you see how quickly this could have turned for the worse?"
Perry used his platform to show his support to the families of Trayvon Martin and other minority men who are thought to be the victims of violence due to racial profiling in the state of Florida.
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