Police dispute that black students were targeted on a bus

Two South Carolina sheriffs are pushing back against allegations that officers targeted a busload of students at a historically black university earlier this month.

Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright and Cherokee County Sheriff Steve Mueller said at a joint press conference Monday that Shaw University President Paulette Dillard’s version of events a roadside check was wrong.

Eighteen students and two staff advisers from Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina, were on their way to the Center for Financial Advancement conference in Atlanta on October 5 when their bus was pulled over by police for a violation traffic minor in Spartanburg County, South Carolina. , Dillard told ABC News Raleigh-Durham station WTVD.

Dillard claimed Spartanburg County Sheriff’s police dogs searched the students’ bags.

“President Dillard said they were searched by bloodthirsty dogs. There was a dog, he was on a leash. The students were never even close to that dog,” Wright said at the conference. Press. “None of the students were even asked to get off the bus.”

Dillard said the traffic stop is reminiscent of the 1950s and 1960s, when segregation was still widely practiced in the South.

Shaw University is shown in Raleigh, North Carolina

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PHOTO: In this screen grab from video released by the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office, law enforcement officers stop a contracted bus in Spartanburg County, SC carrying college students Shaw University at a conference in Atlanta on October 5, 2022.

In this screen capture from video released by the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office, law enforcement officers stop a contracted bus in Spartanburg County, SC carrying Shaw University students , an HBCU in Raleigh, North Carolina, at a conference in Atlanta on October 5, 2022.

Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office via AP, FILE

“This behavior targeting black students is unacceptable and will not be ignored or tolerated,” Dillard told WTVD. “If the students had been white, I doubt that this detention and search would have taken place.”

She continued, “I wish racism would die the ugly, cruel death it deserves. And if anything we do is racist, I want to know about it, I want to fix it, and I don’t want it to happen again. ever, but this case here has nothing to do with racism.”

In body camera footage from the South Carolina Sheriff’s Office, which was obtained by ABC News, officers can be seen approaching the bus, checking the bus’ driver’s license and talking to the driver while a police dog was sniffing the luggage located under the vehicle.

The video also shows an officer searching the driver for weapons after he put his hand in his pockets. The driver pulls candies out of his pockets while chatting with the officer, according to the video.

Law enforcement officials issued the bus driver a written warning, the video shows.

Wright said he contacted Dillard but was unable to speak to him.

Neither Shaw University nor the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Offices immediately responded to ABC News’ request for comment. The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office referred ABC News to its Facebook page, where it posted the press conference and body camera footage.

Shortly after the alleged incident, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper expressed “deep concern” over what school officials say transpired during the traffic stop.

“The Governor shares the deep concern of Shaw University leaders for the treatment and safety of their students and has directed North Carolina public safety officials to discuss this issue with law enforcement officials. laws of South Carolina and to express this concern,” according to a statement from Cooper’s office. .

ABC News’ Julia Jacobo contributed to this report.

ABC News

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