Pennsylvania

DSU files a complaint about the search for a women’s team bus on lacrosse State and region

The University of Delaware (DSU) announced Friday that the university will file a formal complaint with the United States Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division to find a women’s lacrosse team bus in Georgia.

“I declare the university’s intention to file a formal complaint with the United States Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division,” DSU President Tony Allen told a news conference on Friday.

“His complaint will be based on police misconduct in connection with the April 20 incident in which Liberty County Sheriff’s Office stopped a constitutionally questionable stop in search of a charter to transport the university’s women’s lacrosse team,” Allen said.

“We believe that both the stop and the search are a violation of the rights of every passenger of this bus and driver,” Allen added. “From our point of view, the evidence is clear and convincing.”

Last month, the Delaware women’s lacrosse team drove north on I-95 with a road game in Florida against Stetson University.

The women’s lacrosse team was stopped in Liberty County, Georgia, citing a traffic violation because the bus was traveling improperly in the left lane.

Once on the bus, the deputy sheriff of Liberty County announced that deputies were going to search the luggage of team members. Officers also brought their K-9 dogs.

Upon the team’s return to campus, Allen said team coach Pamela Jenkins reported the incident to the university’s athletic director, who immediately reported it to the university’s general counsel.

The women’s lacrosse team at DSU is one of five Division I lacrosse teams represented by historically black colleges or universities (HBCU) in America.

«Our first and most immediate concern was the mental and physical well-being of our students and coaches; it remains the main thing, ”Allen said.

“We immediately launched an investigation into the incident,” Allen said. “We were accurate and thoughtful in understanding the facts of the incident.

“Our goal was to provide the facts that led us to the most accurate actions we can take at the university,” Allen said. “We also wanted to give our students the best advice and advice regarding the actions they can take as individual citizens.”

Liberty County Sheriff William Bowman told a news conference on May 10 that he did not know the situation was perceived as racial profiling until media coverage began a few weeks after the incident.

Bowman added that on the morning of the incident, deputies stopped several cars and found contraband in another bus, which was stopped.

He stressed that the deputies did not know the race or gender of the people who were on the bus when it was stopped, and that personal belongings on the bus were not carried out.

Bowman said he was investigating internal affairs and his staff was doing everything according to the book. He also shared footage of the incident from the camera. Deputies are not identified in the video.

“On board, the deputy informed passengers that the search would be completed,” Bowman told a news conference. “This is the same protocol that is expected to be used regardless of the race, gender, age or destination of the passenger. No personal belongings on the bus or person were carried out.”

However, Allen said that the recordings from the camera made by the deputies of Georgia contradict Bowman’s statements. Allen spoke to Bowman after the incident.

“Sheriff Bowman insists personal belongings have not been searched,” Allen said. “The video clearly shows officers looking for toiletries and clothes and even cutting a family gift for graduation.

“Sheriff Bowman said officers were unaware of the nature of the passengers on the bus,” Allen added. “The audio clearly shows that the officers were both aware that it was a bus with ‘schoolgirls’ and that they did not expect to find anything but marijuana, which the officer who boarded the bus said they were not looking for.”

Allen said the university made an official request to receive video from the body camera for all officers to no avail.

“The university has made inquiries under the Freedom of Information Act under Georgian law for camera recordings of all officers involved in the incident and documents obtained as a result of the stop,” Allen said.

“This deadline for this request expired yesterday. We have not yet received a response from the sheriff’s office. Delaware Attorney General Kathleen Jennings has officially demanded that the incident be reviewed by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Bureau, ”Allen said.

“The Attorney General’s request and our complaint are the first steps,” Allen added. “The bus driver, our coaches and students have their opportunities and we sincerely support them.”

https://www.phillytrib.com/news/state_and_region/dsu-files-complaint-for-women-s-lacrosse-team-bus-search/article_6d9e5cef-9ece-558b-b96a-d9b60dba3d44.html

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