Musician sues Customs over BWI strip-search

October 14, 1998|By Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan | Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan,SUN STAFF

Jamaican musician Peter Jackson has sued the U.S. Customs Service for $10 million, claiming that inspectors at Baltimore-Washington International Airport singled him out for a strip-search and X-rays for possible drugs in September 1997 because he is black.

The suit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, comes seven months after Jackson, 27 -- a reggae artist who goes by the stage name Galaxy P -- filed a $2 million administrative claim against the agency. His lawyer, Marvin Ellin, said he filed the suit because the Customs Service ignored the administrative claim.

"If Peter Jackson had not been black, this whole episode would not have occurred," Ellin said. "I'm afraid he paid the penalty for his skin color."

Customs spokesman Bill Anthony said he could not comment on the suit until it "wends its way through the courts and is decided."

But he added, "We are confident that they [inspectors] were following all procedures that we feel are just and are within the guidelines that we try to follow," Anthony said.

Pub Date: 10/14/98

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