A bus with students from Shaw University, a historically Black university in North Carolina, was likely racially targeted when it was stopped and searched, said Shaw President Dr. Paulette Dillard, ABC News reported.
Shaw’s 18 students and two staff advisers were going to the Center for Financial Advancement Conference in Atlanta on Oct. 5 when the bus was pulled over for a minor traffic violation in Spartanburg County, South Carolina. Then, deputies from the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office allegedly brought drug-sniffing dogs to search students’ suitcases, Dillard claimed.
Nothing illegal was found. The driver was given a ticket for allegedly swerving while driving, Dillard said.
“This behavior of targeting Black students is unacceptable and will not be ignored nor tolerated,” Dillard said. “Had the students been white, I doubt this detention and search would have occurred.”
Student Nikaya Matier said the encounter was traumatizing for the students, especially considering “everything that’s happened to Black people with police officers.”
The office of North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper issued a statement regarding the incident.
“The Governor shares the deep concern of Shaw University leaders about the treatment and safety of their students and has asked North Carolina Public Safety officials to discuss this matter with South Carolina law enforcement officials and express that concern,” the statement read.