Sheriff claims deputies didn’t search lacrosse team’s personal items, body camera shows otherwise

Published: May. 10, 2022 at 7:07 PM CDT|Updated: May. 11, 2022 at 10:20 AM CDT
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LIBERTY COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC/Gray News) - An incident that involved players from a university’s lacrosse team and deputies in Georgia remains under investigation.

WTOC reports Delaware State University President Tony Allen released a statement on Monday responding to the incident that reportedly happened on April 20 in Liberty County.

Allen wrote Georgia law enforcement stopped a bus for a minor traffic violation with the Delaware State Lacrosse team on board. Deputies searched the belongings of the student-athletes, including suitcases with drug-sniffing dogs.

“100% you can’t be in that left lane at all,” said a Liberty County Sheriff’s Deputy.

The team was returning home from a game in Florida and traveling by a contracted bus, according to Allen.

Liberty County Sheriff William Bowman held a news conference about the incident but took no questions. He claimed that no personal items on the bus were searched.

Body camera video obtained by WTOC, however, clearly showed the deputies going through the students’ bags and even medication.

The university president wrote in his statement that videos taken by players showed law enforcement attempting to intimidate them into confessing to possession of drugs and/or drug paraphernalia.

“They didn’t really ask us,” said Sydney Anderson, a Delaware State Lacrosse Player. “They informed us of what they’re gonna do and no one questioned them...we just let them rattle through our stuff.”

A player on the bus asked: “How did we go from being in the wrong lane to going through our bags?”

A deputy responded: “Well, he stopped y’all, he didn’t stop y’all for a traffic violation...he stopped the driver for a traffic violation.”

Nothing illegal was discovered in the search, and Allen informed the public that he has contacted Delaware’s governor, the Black Caucus and other state officials.

Allen wrote that everyone was incensed over the incident.

Allen also added the following:

“We do not intend to let this or any other incident like it pass idly by. We are prepared to go wherever the evidence leads us. We have video. We have allies. Perhaps more significantly, we have the courage of our convictions.”

Allen concluded his statement by writing, “We will never be bullied into believing anything other than what we are: Americans, learners, teachers, builders—useful and honorable people ready to soar.”

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