Monday, April 2, 2012

Tyler Perry Says Racial Profiling Should be a Federal Crime


Tyler Perry wasn’t wearing a hoodie, presumably.  He left his Atlanta studios a few days before President Obama’s scheduled St. Patrick’s Day high-roller soiree at Chez Perry.  He didn’t take his unmarked escort this time.  He just kept one eye on his rear-view mirror, as he’d been taught by his security people, to make sure he wasn’t being followed. He happened to be heading for the airport this time, but if he had been going home, it might have been this one he recently purchased in John’s Creek, GA:

Tyler Perry house in John's Creek

For a video tour of the inside of this house, click the photo.  Perry reportedly planned to tear this house down, keeping the 50 plus acres of gardens intact)

Although he probably owns many cars, we know he has a white Bentley convertible, which he cloned and gifted to Oprah. Tyler Perry's Facebook Page with an account of his traffic stop doesn’t say what car he was driving, but it’s safe to guess it wasn’t a 1998 Honda Civic or some other beater favored by a lot of Atlanta’s bad boys.

The two white officers who stopped Perry during this trip for making a left turn from the right-hand lane were apparently clueless.  They made no sign of recognizing the mogul whose net worth was estimated by Forbes Magazine in 2010 to be $325 Million, probably well above that today, two years later.  What they did do was quickly terrify the man. 

As we all do when pulled aside for a traffic stop, Perry tried to explain his driving error, telling the officers about his need to make sure he wasn’t being followed.  The officers thought that made their subject suspicious. They double teamed him: one on the driver’s side reached into the car to try to snatch the non-existent key from the ignition, while the other was pounding on the passenger side window.  When the rattled Perry rolled the window down, the officer repeatedly asked him what was wrong with him that he thought he was being followed.

It wasn’t until a back-up squad driven by an African American officer arrived that anyone seemed to notice this wasn’t some random big black man driving a fancy car, presumably acquired by ill-gotten means. Perry described the look on the black cop’s face as “Oh, no!”  A quick, whispery huddle and a clumsy apology later, Perry was on his way, shaken and angry.

This is the way Perry ended his Facebook post:

That way local government can’t make the decision on whether or not these people get punished.”

Is there still anybody out there who doesn’t believe racial profiling happens every single day?  How rich does a black man have to get before he is immune?

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