LIBERTY COUNTY, Ga. (WSAV) – The Liberty County Sheriff’s Office has agreed to review its policing policies after a controversial traffic stop last year, the Department of Justice said Monday.
Back on April 20, 2022, deputies pulled over a bus chartered by the Delaware State University’s women’s lacrosse team for a traffic stop that ended in a search for contraband.
Liberty County Sheriff William Bowman said deputies weren’t aware of the occupants’ race or that the school was a historically Black university before they stepped on the motorcoach — but DSU and Delaware’s attorney general argued the team was racially profiled.
“On April 20, they were stopped for a minor traffic violation that turned into a search for illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia,” Attorney General Kathleen Jennings wrote to the assistant attorney general of the Civil Rights Division last year. “We believe both the stop and search were a violation of rights for every passenger on that bus and those of the driver.”
According to the Justice Department, an agreement with the sheriff’s office has resolved the civil rights complaint. LCSO has agreed to modernize its policing operations by updating its policies on traffic enforcement and searches and further efforts to prevent and address discriminatory law enforcement practices.
“The students and staff at Delaware State University deserve policing that is racially equitable and bias-free,” said Kristen Clarke, assistant attorney general of the Civil Rights Division, in a statement released Monday. “The agreement that we have secured with the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office will help ensure that its policing practices are free from racial bias and discrimination going forward.”
News 3 reached out to the sheriff’s office for comment but they denied the request.