DSU to File Federal Civil Rights Complaint to Stop Lacrosse Team – NBC10 Philadelphia
The president of Delaware State University announced Friday that he will file a formal complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division after the deputy sheriff of Georgia stopped and searched the bus last month the school women’s lacrosse team rode.
“We believe the search was conducted improperly and there were apparent racial prejudices in the search,” said Dr. Tony Allen, president of the Black History School, on Friday. “Even if they didn’t know who was on the bus during the stop, of course there was a lot of certainty who was on that bus when they boarded it.”
On April 20, two deputy sheriffs from the Liberty County Sheriff’s Department stopped a DSU bus as it was traveling on Interstate 95 in southern Georgia. The team was returning from a game in Florida.
Deputies are seen in a video taken by one of the people on the bus who says they are looking for drugs. Later, they used dogs to sniff out student athletes’ belongings, including underwear.
“If you have anything in your luggage, we will probably find it,” said one of the deputies.
Allen said he was “angry” at the meeting. He said the complaint would be available to the public as soon as it is filed next week.
Allen said he spoke politely to Liberty County Sheriff William Bowman and that they don’t see the stop and are looking alike.
“We believe that stopping and searching causes serious problems with the constitution and civil rights,” Allen said. – He does not agree.
Earlier this week, Delaware Attorney General Kathleen Jennings called for a federal investigation after the footage from the body camera was published, which shows Georgian deputies sorting through the personal belongings of the DSU team, conflicting statements by their sheriff.
The Delaware Attorney General is calling for a federal investigation after recently released footage from a camera shows Georgia lawmakers viewing the personal belongings of a lacrosse team from the University of Delaware that contradicts their sheriff’s claims. The development comes amid allegations that lawmakers last month outlined predominantly African-American student-athletes and their coaches. NBC10’s Leah Uko talks to the lacrosse team coach as well as the lawyer and father of one of the players. She also has a new statement from the sheriff who clarified her initial comments.
On the recording from the body camera, one of the deputies before getting on the bus says: “There are just a bunch of damn schoolgirls on the bus.
During Tuesday’s press conference, Sheriff Bowman, who is an African-American, said the bus was stopped after the driver violated the lane. According to Bowman, Georgia law requires that a bus or bus move in the two rightmost lanes, unless the bus or bus is preparing to turn left or move to or from the lane for cars with more passengers.
Liberty County Sheriff William Bowman has denied allegations that members of his department racially considered a women’s lacrosse team from the University of Delaware when their bus was stopped for a traffic violation and then searched for drugs. Watch his full press conference.
Bowman also said that several commercial vehicles were stopped this morning, including one bus where there was “smuggling”.
“Because of the nature of the details, the K-9 was part of the stop, and the K-9 issued a warning,” Bowman said. “Before getting into the car, the deputies did not know that this school is historically black, and did not know about the race of passengers because of the height of the car and tinted windows.
“As a veteran, a former Georgia soldier and the sheriff of this department, I do not conduct racial profiling, I do not allow racial profiling, and I do not encourage racial profiling,” Bowman said. “From what I’ve gathered, I believe the stop was legal, but I also understand my duty to help society understand law enforcement by looking for ways to improve services.”
Members of the Georgia Sheriff’s Department are accused of racially profiling the Delaware State University’s lacrosse team. NBC10’s Tim Furlong talks to the team’s coach as well as to the player who reported the incident.
Pamela Jenkins, head coach of the DDU women’s lacrosse team, Sydney Anderson, team member who wrote about the incident in the DSU student newspaper both said the search was extensive.
“From two officers it increased to six officers and they withdrew their K-9,” Anderson told NBC10. “Our bags started to smell. Experiencing everything. Our personal hygiene is like underwear and everything in bags and they did it for about 20 minutes ”.
Deputies eventually found no drugs during the search, and the driver was warned for violating the lane, which Bowman confirmed during a news conference on Tuesday.
On Friday, Allen said the university had made a request to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for all body camera records and documents related to the stoppage. This request expired without a response for the Georgia Sheriff’s Office.
Earlier this week, the state of A. G. Jennings also sent a letter to the US Department of Justice requesting an investigation.
“Like many others, I am deeply concerned about the actions that our women’s team and staff at the University of Delaware experienced in Georgia last April,” Jennings wrote. “I want to thank these wonderful young women for their valor, and my fellow Delawares for coming together around them.”
Allen said Friday that the civil rights complaint and the AG inquiry are “first steps” and that the university “fully supports” students, coaches and bus drivers when they study any action.