A review of body cam footage recording the alleged traffic stop of the bus carrying the Delaware State women’s lacrosse team shows that the official account related by the Liberty County (Georgia) Sheriff’s office, Delaware Online reports.
Liberty County Sheriff William Bowman said in a public statement that “no personal items on the bus or person(s) were searched” during the April 20th traffic stop, which deputies reportedly conducted because the bus was not supposed to be in the far left lane of traffic, they said.
Civil rights advocates, however, say the stop seemed to be a classic attempt by police to harass the passengers and delay the bus’s release until a drug dog could be brought to the scene to conduct an “open air” search.
State and federal courts, including the Georgia Supreme Court, have ruled that law enforcement cannot detain a vehicle any longer than it takes to issue a citation; police had used a ploy of delaying releasing the vehicle by conducting unnecessary searches and inspections.
In the case of the Delaware State bus, deputies conducted a search of the team’s luggage, claiming they were looking for narcotics. The deputies called in a K-9 unit to conduct a search in the meantime. Neither the dog nor the deputies found anything illegal, although they questioned a player about a wrapped gift had received from her grandmother, saying the fact that she didn’t know what was in the gift was suspicious.