DOJ reaches agreement with Liberty County Sheriff’s Office after April 2022 traffic stop with Black lacrosse players

    A still from body camera footage released by the Liberty County Sheriff's Office shows the bus and driver on the side of the highway. (Photo: Liberty County Sheriff's Department )

    (CNN) — The US Department of Justice has reached an agreement with a Georgia sheriff’s office, resolving a racial discrimination complaint after police allegedly stopped a bus of Black female lacrosse players from Delaware State University last year.

    In April of 2022, the university’s women’s lacrosse team was on a bus headed north on Interstate 95 in Liberty County, Georgia, following a game in Florida when it was stopped by officers from the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office for a minor traffic violation, CNN previously reported. Delaware State is a historically Black university located in Dover, Delaware.

    Delaware State University President Tony Allen called the search “constitutionally dubious” at the time and the following month announced the school’s intention to file a formal complaint with the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

    Video released by the sheriff’s department shows officers entering the bus, using a K-9 officer to sniff the bus, and searching some of the athletes’ bags in the luggage compartment.

    According to a news release from the Department of Justice, as part of the agreement, the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office will “review its bias-free policing policies, make necessary updates to its policies on traffic enforcement and searches and develop and implement data collection procedures, among its provisions.”

    “The students and staff at Delaware State University deserve policing that is racially equitable and bias-free,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in the release. “The agreement that we have secured with the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office will help ensure that its policing practices are free from racial bias and discrimination going forward. We will continue working to ensure that federally funded law enforcement agencies comply with our federal civil rights laws.”

    CNN has reached out to Delaware State and the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office for comment.

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