Shaw University President Outraged by Traffic Stop and Search of Bus Carrying Black Students

On October 5, 18  student scholars and two staff advisors from historically Black Shaw University were traveling from Raleigh, North Carolina, to attend the Center for Financial Advancement Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Traveling by contract bus, South Carolina Law Enforcement stopped the team in Spartanburg County under the pretext of a minor traffic violation. A couple of officers boarded the bus and asked the driver where he was headed. Multiple sheriff deputies and drug-sniffing dogs searched the suitcases of the students and staff located in the luggage racks beneath the bus.

Nothing illegal was discovered in this search by South Carolina Law Enforcement officers. The officers said they stopped the bus because it was swerving and issued the driver a warning ticket for “improper lane use.”

Paulette Dillard, president of Shaw University, issued a statement that said: “In a word, I am ‘outraged.’ This behavior of targeting Black students is unacceptable and will not be ignored nor tolerated. Had the students been White, I doubt this detention and search would have occurred. It’s 2022. However, this scene is reminiscent of the 1950s and 1960s — armed police, interrogating innocent Black students, conducting searches without probable cause, and blood-thirsty dogs. It’s hard to imagine.”

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