18 Shaw University students and two administrators were on a bus headed to the Center for Financial Advancement Conference in Atlanta earlier this month when they were pulled over for a minor traffic violation in Spartanburg County, South Carolina, Shaw University President Dr. Paulette Dillard told WTVD.
According to Dillard, Spartanburg County Sheriff’s deputies searched through the students’ suitcases with drug-sniffing dogs though the bus was only stopped for minor violations. No illegal substances were found during the search, and deputies gave the driver a ticket for “improper lane use,” Dillard said.
The university president said she was “outraged” over the incident.
“This behavior of targeting Black students is unacceptable and will not be ignored nor tolerated,” Dillard said. “Had the students been White, I doubt this detention and search would have occurred.”
Shaw University students said the police encounter will likely leave a lasting impact on those who were involved.
“It’s 2022. I don’t understand why students are being harassed in this form and fashion,” student Brendan Truynor told WTVD.
Another student, Nikaya Matier, said the incident was likely “traumatizing” for students, especially considering “everything that’s happened to Black people with police officers.”
“This is probably going to give them a negative feeling next time they interact with police,” student Tionna Mayo said.
The school has thus far declined to provide additional information regarding the stop due to an ongoing internal investigation into the incident, ABC News reports. Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Kevin Bobo told ABC News that he could not provide any further details about the traffic stop without the bus driver’s name or the license plate number for the bus.
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