Delaware AG asks for federal civil rights overview after HBCU group stopped by police

Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings says she is “deeply troubled” following the information of the cease and search of a bus carrying members of the ladies’s lacrosse group of Delaware State University, a traditionally Black college, final month in Georgia.

In an announcement launched Wednesday, Jennings known as on officers in Georgia and on the U.S. Justice Department to research what members of the group say was racial profiling.

“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,” Jennings stated within the assertion.

In a letter addressed to the U.S. assistant lawyer normal for civil rights, Kristen Clarke, Jennings referred to the incident as “troubling” and one that’s “deserving of your attention.”

“These students and coaches were not in the proverbial wrong place at the wrong time,” Jennings stated in her letter, obtained by NPR. “Not only did the deputies find nothing illegal in the bags; they did not issue a single ticket for the alleged traffic infraction.”

The group’s bus was headed northbound on Interstate 95 in Liberty County, Ga., on April 20 following video games in Georgia and Florida. Liberty County is on the coast of Georgia, almost 30 miles from Savannah.

According to the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, the bus was stopped after officers say it had illegally traveled within the left lane. During the site visitors cease, a number of of the gamers’ baggage had been searched after a narcotics-sniffing Ok-9 canine made what officers name an “open-air alert.”

In a video posted to YouTube by group member Sydney Anderson, one deputy is talking to the scholars simply earlier than the search begins, telling them that the usage of marijuana recreationally is prohibited in Georgia.

It is unclear at the moment what befell earlier than the recording started or after the recording stopped.

“If there is something in there that is questionable, please tell me now,” the officer says within the video. “Because if we find it, guess what? We’re not going to be able to help you.”

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Anderson, a sophomore at Delaware State, wrote on Instagram that she is “disappointed but not surprised” by the authorities’ actions, saying there was no possible trigger for police to go looking gamers’ belongings for medication.

“Our constitutional rights were violated and justice needs to be served,” wrote Anderson. “Time and time again, racial encounters happen without being formally addressed. It is time to take [a] stand for racial injustice and that starts now!”

At a information convention Tuesday, Liberty County Sheriff William Bowman stated deputies had stopped a number of autos the morning of the incident, discovering contraband on one other bus that was stopped.

Bowman emphasised that deputies had been unaware of the race or gender of these contained in the bus when it was pulled over. The deputies within the video weren’t recognized throughout the information convention.

“At the time, or even the weeks following, we were not aware that this stop was received as a racial profiling,” Bowman stated.

“Although I do not believe any racial profiling took place based on the information I currently have, I welcome feedback from our community on ways that our law enforcement practices can be improved while still maintaining the law,” he added.

Delaware State University President Tony Allen stated in a assertion that he’s “incensed” by the state of affairs and has reached out to Georgia regulation enforcement for additional investigation.

“It should not be lost on any of us how thin any day’s line is between customary and extraordinary, between humdrum and exceptional, between safe and victimized,” Allen wrote.

“That is true for us all but particularly so for communities of color and the institutions who serve them. The resultant feelings of disempowerment are always the aggressors’ object.”

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