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‘It really hit hard for us’: Delaware Lacrosse player reacts to traffic stop and search in Liberty County

Published: May. 10, 2022 at 11:32 PM EDT|Updated: May. 10, 2022 at 11:55 PM EDT
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LIBERTY COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Liberty County Sheriff William Bowman walked away from a 10 minute news conference he called about the search of a Delaware State lacrosse bus, taking no questions.

“It’s an election year you might want to answer the question,” shouted a person at the news conference.

It all started with a traffic stop. Deputies said the bus driver was driving in the left lane.

“100% you can’t be in that left lane at all,” said a Liberty County Sheriff’s Deputy.

The news conference follows outrage about Liberty County deputies searching the bags of a bus full of Delaware State Lacrosse Players following a K-9 alert.

“No personal items on the bus or person were searched,” said Liberty County Sheriff William Bowman.

Body camera video obtained by WTOC clearly showed the deputies going through the students’ bags and even medication.

“Bunch of dang school girls on that bus, probably some weed,” a deputy said.

A deputy got on the bus and said to the team: “If there’s anything in y’all’s luggage, we’re probably gonna find it.”

“They didn’t really ask us,” said Sydney Anderson, a Delaware State Lacrosse Player, “They informed us of what they’re gonna do and no one questioned them...we just let them rattle through our stuff.”

Sheriff’s deputies didn’t find any drugs or anything illegal during the search.

WTOC asked a player why they thought the search was racially motivated.

Anderson responded: “I know if the majority of us weren’t Black or if we were a full Caucasian team...our luggage wouldn’t have been searched.”

A player on the bus asked: “How did we go from being in the wrong lane to going through our bags?”

A deputy responded: “Well, he stopped y’all, he didn’t stop y’all for a traffic violation...he stopped the driver for a traffic violation.”

Anderson said being “Black in America” means knowing to be compliant with officers.

“It’s not like...I wouldn’t say that I was surprised, just disappointed,” she said.

Anderson said everyone on the bus was shocked. The 11 hours back to their Delaware campus was silent.

“It really hit hard for us on the bus ride back because a lot of us were trying to process what we just experienced,” Anderson said.

WTOC also reached out for the police report, but the records clerk said “there is no report.”

The team and University are demanding a full investigation. Tony Allen, President of Delaware State University said:

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