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DOJ resolves race discrimination complaint filed by Delaware State University

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

Delaware State University filed its complaint against the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office in May 2022, responding to an incident where Liberty County officers conducted a traffic stop in Georgia of a bus chartered by DSU.

The passengers of the bus, which included the DSU women’s lacrosse team, athletic coach, and driver, were primarily Black.

Following the traffic stop, DSU alleged the subsequent questioning and search of the personal belongings of the passengers constituted unlawful race discrimination under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Title VI prohibits recipients of federal financial assistance from discriminating on the basis of race, color, or national origin.

The resolution agreement between the Department of Justice and the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office calls for LCSO to review its policies, modernize its policing operations and produce more efforts to prevent and address discriminatory law enforcement practices.

In a statement, DSU says it continues to stand with its players, adding that it disagrees with the outcome of LCSO's internal investigation, which concluded that its officers acted consistent with the law. And that it hopes the Justice Department monitors LCSO's compliance with the agreement and reopens its investigation if it fails to meet its obligation

As part of this agreement, DOJ is also offering a facilitated dialogue between LCSO and the students, driver and coaches involved in the traffic stop.

As of now, DSU spokesman Carlos Holmes says that the University has not announced any plans to participate in this meeting.

Quinn Kirkpatrick was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware, and graduated from the University of Delaware. She joined Delaware Public Media in June 2021.