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Delaware State U. Complaining to DOJ Over Bus Traffic Stop

Delaware State University, a historically Black institution in Dover, De., said it will file a formal complaint with the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division over the stop and search of a bus carrying members of the university's women's lacrosse team last month in Georgia, NPR reports. The school says the stop and search conducted by the Liberty County, Ga., deputies was "constitutionally dubious." "From our standpoint, the evidence is clear and compelling," said university president Tony Allen. On April 20, the women's lacrosse team was headed northbound on Interstate 95 in Liberty County after games in Georgia and Florida. Liberty County is on Georgia's coast, nearly 30 miles from Savannah.

Liberty County Sheriff William Bowman said the bus was stopped after it had illegally traveled in the left lane. During the stop, several athletes' bags were searched after a narcotics-sniffing K-9 dog made what officials call an "open-air alert." In a video posted to YouTube by one lacrosse player, Deputy Sydney Anderson tells students just before the search begins that the use of marijuana recreationally is illegal in Georgia. "If there is something in there that is questionable, please tell me now," the officer says in the video. "Because if we find it, guess what? We're not going to be able to help you." Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings sent a letter to the Justice Department, saying she is "deeply troubled" about the incident. "These students and coaches were not in the proverbial wrong place at the wrong time," Jennings said. "Not only did the deputies find nothing illegal in the bags; they did not issue a single ticket for the alleged traffic infraction."


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