Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings is asking the officials in Georgia and at the federal level to investigate a traffic stop in Georgia that led to the Delaware State University lacrosse team seeing their luggage searched.
A bus carrying the team was stopped over a traffic violation, leading a group of Liberty County sheriff’s deputies to search belongings in the bus cargo area.
William Bowman, the Black sheriff of that county said the predominately Black team was not racially profiled by white deputies. Deputies also used a drug-sniffing dog in the search and stated that marijuana is illegal in Georgia. That is also true in Delaware.
The bus driver was not ticketed for allegedly driving in the wrong traffic lane.
DSU President Dr. Tony Allen harshly criticized the traffic stop and was joined by Delaware’s Congressional delegation, state legislators, and others.
“I spoke with Sheriff William Bowman of Liberty County on Tuesday and note his acknowledgment to me and at his press event of the historic concerns of African Americans in traffic stops with law enforcement.” Allen stated Wednesday afternoon. “He even indicated an interest in reaching out to our lacrosse team for feedback to assist his department in improving its approach to people of color. I look forward to hearing from him exactly how he would like to proceed in that regard.”
However, Allen went on claim that “Bowman’s public statement and the released body camera footage raise more questions than answers.”
“Sheriff Bowman insists that personal items were not searched; the video clearly shows officers searching toiletries and clothes, and even cutting open a family graduation gift. Sheriff Bowman said the officers were unaware of the nature of the passengers on the bus; the audio clearly demonstrates that the officers were aware both that this was a busload of ‘schoolgirls,’ and that they did not expect to find anything other than marijuana, which the officer who entered the bus said they were not looking for. It has become abundantly more clear that this incident must be investigated,” Allen stated.
“Like so many others, I’m deeply troubled by the actions that our Delaware State University Women’s Lacrosse team and staff endured in Georgia this past April. I want to commend these outstanding young women for their valor, and my fellow Delawareans for rallying around them,” Attorney General Jennings stated. “Over the last few days, I’ve spoken with those affected at Delaware State and the authorities in a position to investigate these events. Following discussions with both the U.S. Department of Justice and the Georgia Attorney General, I sent the letter urging a full examination, and I have every reason to believe one will occur.