Sheriff’s deputies in Georgia stopped a bus carrying a historically Black college’s women’s lacrosse team and searched it for narcotics. The Delaware State University women’s lacrosse team was returning home after three games in Florida when Liberty County sheriff’s deputies stopped the bus for a traffic infraction, according to NBC News.
The deputies, who were accompanied by a drug-sniffing dog, boarded the bus and informed the team that they would be searching their luggage for narcotics. One of the officers is claimed to have advised the students that recreational marijuana use is banned in Georgia prior to the search.
“Please tell me now if there is anything in there that is questionable,” the officer was heard asking in a video captured by a team member named Sydney Anderson. “Because guess what if we discover it? We will not be able to assist you.”
They’ll also be looking for “anything you could put marijuana in,” according to the deputy. This includes things like smoking equipment and scales for weighing marijuana pieces. The university’s president, Tony Allen, said in a statement on Monday that the search turned up “nothing criminal.”
Anderson said she was “disappointed but not surprised” by the incident in an Instagram post earlier this week. Deputies had no reason to suspect the team of having drugs in their bags, according to the sophomore.
According to NBC News, Anderson wrote, “Our constitutional rights were violated, and justice must be delivered.” “Racial confrontations occur frequently without being explicitly addressed.”
According to Anderson, the authorities searched the bus for 20 minutes with the dog before allowing the passengers to continue their journey back home. Anderson said the police tossed “underwear and other feminine goods in an attempt to discover narcotics” in a report on the university’s news site.
“Every time the students turned their heads, more officers arrived,” Anderson continued. “As they went from two to six officers, the cops continued doubling.”
Liberty County Sheriff William Bowman said at a press conference on Tuesday that deputies had performed several traffic stops on commercial vehicles that morning. They also detected drugs on one of the buses. He also said that the deputies had no idea what race the passengers on the bus were.
“We were not aware at the time, or even in the weeks after, that this stop was received as racial profiling,” Bowman alleged. “While I do not believe any racial profiling occurred based on the information I presently have, I welcome suggestions from our community on how we may improve our law enforcement processes while still upholding the law.”
Allen said he’s working with the university’s General Counsel and Athletic Director to investigate the event. “I’ve also contacted Delaware’s Governor, Congressional delegation, Attorney General, and Black Caucus,” Allen continued.
“They, like me, are furious.” We’ve also reached out to Georgia Law Enforcement and are looking into legal and non-legal options for our student-athletes, coaches, and the University.”