Shaw University has filed an official complaint with the U.S. Justice Department to request an investigation into potential Title VI and civil rights violations committed by police during an Oct. 5 traffic stop and search of a Shaw-chartered bus.
The bus – transporting 18 students to Atlanta, Georgia, for a financial leadership conference – was stopped in Spartanburg County, South Carolina. The traffic stop was cited as a minor traffic lane violation by law enforcement officials. But it turned into a drug search of bus luggage compartments and students’ personal belongings, with nothing found during the search.
The school is asking for an investigation into the actions of the Spartanburg County and the Cherokee County, South Carolina Sheriff’s offices.
“Shaw requests an expedited and independent review of the unfounded search of eighteen Shaw University students in October 2022, and an investigation of the Spartanburg County and Cherokee County Sheriff’s Offices for civil rights violations,” the filing states.
“There is real harm done when individual rights are overlooked, ignored or denied – and when it becomes commonplace to violate the civil liberties of innocent Americans traveling on an Interstate highway,” Shaw President Dr. Paulette Dillard said at a Nov. 21 press conference. “The harmful effects of eroding individual rights under the pretext of law and order are real – and they are rampant all over the country.”