RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — More than a month after a Shaw University bus was pulled over and searched in South Carolina, university officials are taking action and filing a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice.
“The real issue is why and how a minor traffic violation immediately turns into a drug search?” said Dr. Paulette Dillard, the university’s president.
Body-camera video released in October showed Spartanburg County, S.C., deputies conducting a traffic stop where they then searched bags being carried underneath a bus chartered by Shaw University.
In the complaint, Shaw University highlights three areas of concern which includes the search and seizure for the violation, the violation of passengers’ privacy, and the operation itself.
“My classmates and I may be young, but we are not naive,” said Shaw University SGA President, Mariah Williams. “We understand that some of the struggles from the past are still here and still prevalent. We are also keenly aware of the destructive and damaging effects that young people experience when people in positions of authority dismiss, disrespect, and assume the worst about us.
In a previous press conference, the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office said the stop was a part of “Operation Rolling Thunder.”
The sheriff’s office said they stopped the bus after the driver was weaving in lanes and that they had stopped 39 other vehicles to conduct similar searches.
Dillard still questions the reason behind the search.
“It begs the question whether every vehicle that is stopped for a lane violation is also searched for drugs by dogs? And if not, what is the probable cause that makes that determination?” said Dillard.
Read Shaw’s complaint to the Justice Department below: