Terry Crews Reveals Racial Profiling Incident

“I am just so happy that we are having these conversations,” says the actor who has starred on several films and television shows.

Terry Crews

“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” actor Terry Crews has had a few racially motivated brushes with law enforcement in his lifetime, but there’s one particular incident that stands out for the sportsman turned screen star.

“It was a time when I was traveling from Chicago to San Diego,” shares Crews, a former NFL player who traded in his helmet and cleats to pursue an acting career and has been in over forty films and television shows. “The police pulled me off the plane as they thought I was a drug dealer because I had paid for my ticket in cash.”

Crews, who was already seated and awaiting takeoff, cites the incident as an extremely embarrassing one as he was marched off the plane in front of his follow passengers and questioned at length by law enforcement.

“When they found out I was a football player, they asked for my autograph and I remember thinking what would have happened if I was not a football player?”

It’s an incident, which the writers and producers of the Fox sitcom “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” say inspired “Moo Moo,” an upcoming episode that deals with racial profiling.

“This is an unusually serious issue for us to tackle, but it is an issue that everyone should be talking about,” says executive producer Dan Goor.  “We had so many conversations about it and went through so many avenues. It took on more urgency after Terry relayed that experience to us and that gave us more urgency to do an episode where his character gets racially profiled.”

Coming on the heels of the 25th anniversary of the Los Angeles riots which occurred after four white officers were acquitted of a racially motivated incident, the upcoming episode follows Crews (“Sandy Wexler,” “White Chicks,” “The Expendables”), who plays Sergeant Terry Jeffords on show, as he is stopped by a fellow police officer (guest star Desmond Harrington) while off-duty in his own neighborhood. The incident escalates and Terry decides he wants to file an official complaint against him, but Captain Holt (Andre Braugher) has other ideas.

Phil Augusta Jackson

“We have Terry and Holt on the right side of the issue, but how to handle it is where we get the tension,” shares series writer Phil Augusta Jackson (pictured above). “We wanted to tell a story that had gravity to it, but also find ways to make it funny and relatable to people. As African American men in this country, we have all had experiences with race and racism. We are taught as young black men to be aware of our surroundings and our circumstances. When it comes to serious issues like this, humor is a release of tension. You speak to a truth and release the tension in a way that is funny.”

Now in its 4th season, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” which has earned both a Golden Globe and an Emmy award follows the exploits of a diverse group of colleagues as they police the NYPD’s 99th precinct.  From Emmy Award-winning writer/producers Dan Goor and Michael Schur (“Parks and Recreation”), the sitcom won the 2014 Golden Globe Awards for Best Television Series. Braugher recently earned his third consecutive Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.

“A racial profiling incident gets addressed in this episode and it’s brilliant the way the writers deal with the subject as it brings up a whole new thing in play,” Crews continues. “Am I blue or am I black as a police officer? Comedy is the best way to deal with really serious subjects and I am just so happy that we are having these conversations now.”

The “Moo Moo” episode of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” airs Tuesday, May 2 (8:00-8:31 PM ET/PT) on Fox.

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