The sheriff of a Georgia law enforcement agency that was accused of racial profiling after its deputies stopped and searched the Delaware State team bus denied any wrongdoing.
Liberty County Sheriff William Bowman on Tuesday said there was no act of racial profiling during a traffic stop that took place on April 20 on I-95 in Georgia.
“We initiated a traffic stop for a motor coach traveling northbound on I-95. This is part of our commercial interdiction detail on the interstate,” Bowman said in a news conference where no questions were taken. “There were several commercial vehicles stopped that morning, including another bus where contraband was located. Due to the nature of the detail, a K9 was part of the stop and an alert was given by the K9. A K9 sniff of the exterior is not a search under the Fourth Amendment and does cause us to provide search of the vehicle.”
Anderson wrote that the deputies, who were all white, “checked bags for 20 minutes, then explained it was necessary, in case of child trafficking or drugs.”
She went on to write that the team experienced “underlying racism” and that the officers tried to get players to incriminate themselves by admitting they were carrying drugs.
The university’s president, Tony Allen, posted a letter Monday saying he was “incensed” by the stop.
Bowman, who is Black, requested feedback from the women’s lacrosse team on how the department could have communicated with them more appropriately.
He also explained how he was encouraged “that nothing was found” during the search and sympathized with concerns about encounters involving law enforcement considering a troubling history between Black Americans and authorities.
“Although I do not believe racial profiling occurred based on the information I have, I welcome feedback from the community on ways our law enforcement practices can be improved,” said Bowman. “More than anything, we want feedback from the Delaware lacrosse team on the communication approaches we can consider that we are not aware of. This is how true policing is done. This is what the department stands for under my leadership.”