On April 20, 2022, a bus carrying the Delaware State University women’s lacrosse team and administrators was pulled over for a left lane violation. Bus driver Tim Jones had apparently driven in the far-left lane where buses were prohibited to be in. The team was searched by Georgia’s Liberty County Sherriff’s Department. Some may say that this was racial profiling situation. Delaware State University administrators filed a Civil Rights and Title VI Discrimination Complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice.
A request signed by the President and Vice President of Delaware State University inquired for an investigation into the Liberty County Sheriff’s Department. It will be directed toward “police conduct” by the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office in Georgia. Six offers-all white, went through the students’ belongings. There was no reasonable suspicion of a crime.
Sheriff William Bowman denied that a search occurred, once DSU first released a response to the traffic stop and search. Sheriff Bowman defended any sort of accusations of wrongdoing even after the bodycam footage presented officers going through the women’s lacrosse team’s baggage; this includes medication and toiletries.
DSU President, Tony Allen, wrote “Little faith that any internal investigation by the Sheriff’s Office will be conducted in the comprehensive and unbiased manner that this situation deserves.”
As deputies searched the bus, the deputy who had initially stopped the bus, climbed aboard, and proceeded to ask the team members to confess, stating, “If there is something in there that’s questionable, please tell me know because if we find it, guess what? We’re not going to be able to help you.” “Some of the language they use relative to searching for drugs and drug paraphernalia suggested that there was some implicit bias in their inquiry,” President Allen said. Delaware State coach, Pamella Jenkins, described the situation as “Very traumatizing” as she added: “The infuriating thing was the assumption of guilt on their behalf.” Allen said, “Implicit racial bias “was clear.
Six deputies and a police dog searched the team’s luggage without their permission, Jenkins said. Nothing illegal was found. “I think everyone was in shock that this happened,” Jenkins said. The encounter took at least 30 minutes. All the students were silent afterwards. Jenkins said the team discussed the traffic stop a few days after. Some students were traumatized. Delaware State University’s student newspaper reported about the traffic stop in Georgia. Coach Jenkins said, “I hope no one has to experience being accused of anything like that without probable cause.”
Stirgus, E. (2022, May 10). Coach at Delaware Hbcu says Georgia deputies racially profiled team. ajc. Retrieved May 20, 2022, from https://www.ajc.com/education/coach-at-delaware-hbcu-says-georgia-deputies-racially-profiled-team/XCKTHHEYTVHUPNBC3GIZYCGBDU/
Edelman, H. (2022, May 19). DSU requests federal investigation into traffic stop, search of Women’s Lacrosse Team Bus. The News Journal. Retrieved May 20, 2022, from https://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/2022/05/18/delaware-state-university-lacrosse-team-bus-search-federal-complaint-georgia/9829405002/
Streeter, K. (2022, May 13). The pain may never fade for Delaware State’s players. I’ve been there, too. The New York Times. Retrieved May 20, 2022, from https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/13/sports/delaware-state-lacrosse-team-bus.html