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Delaware State Univ. to file civil rights complaint over lacrosse team stop

Liberty County Sheriff's Office
Body camera footage of Libery County police stop involving the DSU women's lacrosse tean

Delaware State University is filing a formal complaint with the U-S Justice Department Civil Rights Division related to a police stop of its women’s lacrosse team bus in Georgia last month.

Calling the incident a “constitutionally dubious stop and search,” DSU President Tony Allen said the rights of all passengers and the bus driver were violated during the April 20th incident.

Police body cam footage of the incident shows Liberty County officers searching the student-athletes’ belongings in what should have been a minor traffic stop.

“I do not intend to debate the merits of our complaint in the public square. From our standpoint the evidence is clear and compelling,” Allen said.

Allen also vowed to get all body cam footage of the stop released.

“To be clear, the University made a Freedom of Information Act request—consistent with Georgia law—for the body camera footage of all officers involved in the incident and paperwork generated by the stop. The deadline for that request expired yesterday. At present, we have not received a response (from the Liberty County sheriff’s office),” he said.

Earlier this week, the Sheriff argued his officers did not violate any Fourth Amendment rights. He claimed they did not search the team's personal belongings and were unaware of the nature of the passengers on the bus.

Allen disagrees, stating “The video clearly shows officers searching toiletries, searching clothes, and opening a family graduation gift.”

Allen also addressed questions about the timing of DSU’s response to the incident, saying the school wanted to ensure its understanding of the facts “were as unassailable as possible” while providing students the best possible advice and counsel

The school plans to file its complaint sometime next week.

Earlier this week, Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings also referred the matter to the U.S. Justice Department.