A coach of the Delaware State University lacrosse team is speaking out after Georgia deputies allegedly racially profiled her team at the predominantly Black university.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the team was on their way back from Florida. Deputies forced the bus to pull over on I-95 in Liberty County. They said six deputies, armed with police dogs, searched the vehicle for drugs—specifically, marijuana.
The search lasted for 20 minutes.
“If there is anything in your luggage, we’re probably gonna find it…. I’m not looking for a little marijuana, but I’m pretty sure you guys chaperones will probably be disappointed if we find it,” one of the deputies says in the video. “If there is something in there that is questionable, please tell me now because, guess what.. we’re not gonna be able to help.”
The players were left shaken.
“It was definitely because the majority of us are Black. The majority of my team is Black, my head coach is Black, and the bus driver is Black. So, there’s no correlation between a traffic law violation and them checking our luggage,” lacrosse player Sydney Anderson told The Hornet Newspaper.
Of course, no drugs were found.
“(The deputy) quickly went to marijuana, which stereotypically is unfortunately associated with African Americans. That’s the first thing that he went to,” head coach Pamella Jenkins told the news outlet.
The incident sparked an investigation. Sheriff William Bowman vowed to “follow the facts.”
“If anything is proven wrong, the appropriate actions will be taken,” Bowman said in response to the claims of racial profiling.
In a press conference, he appeared to defend the officers: “The deputies were not aware that this school was historically Black or aware of the race of the occupants due to the height of the vehicle and tinted windows,” he said.
On Monday, the university’s president, Tony Allen, posted a letter condemning the search.
“We do not intend to let this or any other incident like it pass idly by. We are prepared to go wherever the evidence leads us. We have video. We have allies. Perhaps more significantly, we have the courage of our convictions.”