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Liberty Co. Sheriff clarifies his statements from Tuesday’s news conference

Published: May. 11, 2022 at 6:50 PM EDT|Updated: May. 11, 2022 at 7:39 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Following some discrepancies after Tuesday’s news conference, WTOC spoke with the Liberty County Sheriff for some clarification regarding the traffic stop of the bus containing student athletes from Delaware State University.

WTOC has obtained new body camera footage of the search of the bus that took place on April 20th.

During a news briefing Tuesday, the Liberty County Sheriff said deputies did not search any of the student’s belongings. “No personal items on the bus, or person was searched,” Sheriff Bowman said.

Wednesday, he says that statement was a mistake.

“None of the people on the bus were checked or any of their property on the bus were checked because the dog did not ever go on the bus, inside the bus compartment. Let me make that clear. The dog never went inside of the bus at all. The dog alerted outside the bus, so that’s what made the search legal, that’s why they did the search where they did,” Sheriff Bowman said.

The video shows deputies searching the lower parts of the bus, which Sheriff Bowman calls protocol.

“If the dog alerts on the lower portion of the bus, we have a legal right to search that area,” Sheriff Bowman said.

The sheriff says he doesn’t think his deputies did anything wrong.

“No. But we could’ve done things a lot better. We’d like to get more feedback from the university and talk to more students,” Sheriff Bowman said.

He also went on to say this:

“We don’t want to be known as a county that accepts racism, or practices racism, or has anything of that nature. That’s something I will not stand for, I will not promote, nor will I allow it,” Sheriff Bowman said.

Sheriff Bowman says his deputies will undergo more sensitivity training in the future.

Sheriff Bowman says there’s not a definite timeline for the investigation, or when the results will be released, but that they’re working as fast as possible.

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