DOVER, DEL. (CBS) — Video from a traffic stop involving Delaware State University’s lacrosse team is sparking outrage. Georgia police searched their bus and luggage for drugs in what the university called a “humiliating process.”
The incident took place on Wednesday, April 20, as Delaware State’s women’s lacrosse team traveled home on a charter bus after playing three games in Georgia and Florida.READ MORE: North Philadelphia Crash Leaves Young Girl Dead; Sister, Mother Injured
Delaware State University is one of the country’s historically Black colleges and universities. Most of the coaches and players on the bus were Black.
The male bus driver was also Black. He was pulled over for driving in the left lane and was asked to step out of the vehicle.
That’s when the team’s head coach, Pamella Jenkins, says they noticed something peculiar.
“One of my student-athletes says they have dogs going through our things and we’re all like ‘What?’ So we go to the side of the bus and we’re looking and they’re pulling our luggage out from underneath the bus and they have a dog there sniffing through the bags,” Jenkins said.READ MORE: 4 Starbucks Locations In Philadelphia Vote In Favor To Form Union
It was only after the police dogs had already begun sniffing bags that officers came onto the bus to address its occupants, as captured by one of the player’s cellphones.
“You guys are on a lacrosse team, correct? If there is something in there that is questionable, please tell me now because if we find it, guess what? We’re not gonna be able to help you. You are in the state of Georgia,” an officer says in the video.
For nearly 30 minutes the officers tore through the bags, pulling out some of the women’s underwear and even unwrapping a gift given to one player by her aunt in Georgia.
“I was upset at the accusatory tone of the officer. It was known that we were a lacrosse team. Honestly, scared. I tried to stay composed, to lead by example,” Jenkins said.
The university’s president, Dr. Tony Allen, issued a lengthy statement, which reads in part: “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.”MORE NEWS: Philadelphia Weather: Severe Storm, Flooding Threat Kicks Off Memorial Day Weekend
Both Dr. Allen and coach Jenkins say they could not be more proud of the way in which the young athletes carried themselves with grace and self-respect both during and following the incident. Coach Jenkins hopes no one else will have to go through what her team just did.