We all know that, for the most part, Black cops are blue before they’re Black. Perhaps that’s the reason why Liberty County Sheriff William Bowman, of Liberty, Georgia, is out here blue-splaining how racial profiling had nothing to do with Georgia deputies pulling over the bus of Delaware State University’s mostly Black women’s lacrosse team and searching the bus for drugs without reason to suspect there were drugs on board.
For those unfamiliar with the story, on April 20, officers pulled over the HBCU’s bus for an alleged lane violation and decided to search the bus for drugs they never found. Of course, the victims of what should be considered an illegal search were stunned and outraged, and now that the story has gone public, the sheriff is trying to pretend the deputies did nothing wrong. Unfortunately for him, his narrative is contradicted by the body camera footage of the very cops he’s tripping all over himself to protect.
According to ABC 10, Liberty County Sheriff William Bowman spoke at a news conference Tuesday to claim the officers didn’t know they were pulling over Black college students until they got on the bus and that they never searched said students’ personal items.
“Due to the nature of the detail, a K-9 was part of the stop and an alert was given by the K-9,” Bowman said. “Before entering the motorcoach, the deputies were not aware that this school was historically black or aware of the race of the occupants due to the height of the vehicle and the tinted windows.”
*In my best Maury voice* Newly revealed body camera footage determined that was a lie because one of the cops on his body camera is heard saying from outside the bus:
“Just a bunch of dang schoolgirls on the bus. Probably some weed. Maybe.”
Bowman also said that no personal items on the bus were searched but video footage clearly shows the deputies searching through the students’ luggage where people typically keep their *checks notes* personal items.
But no worries, because that’s not what Bowman meant.
“There was misinformation that the individuals were searched. No players were searched and the K9 never entered the vehicle to search them,” Bowman wrote in a statement clarifying his earlier statement. “Only the front luggage area was checked. My comment about personal belongings not being searched referred to the people on the bus and their items with them inside of the vehicle. I saw the students’ video clips so there was no need for me to lie about whether anything was searched. My words about personal belongings need to be clarified.”
In other words: “When I said ‘personal items,’ I didn’t mean items that belonged to a person, I meant no person who owned items was searched.”
I’ve heard a lot of lazy excuses in my day, but I gotta say that’s a new one.
Anyway, Delaware’s attorney general is calling for a federal investigation into the incident amid the new footage being released. Meanwhile, Bowman is still shucking and jiving around the issue while trying to walk a tight line between defending his deputies and appealing to those outraged by their actions.
“As a veteran, a former Georgia State Trooper and a sheriff of this department, I do not exercise racial profiling, allow racial profiling or encourage racial profiling,” Bowman said. “From what I have gathered, I believe that the stop was legal, but I also understand my duty to help the public understand law enforcement while seeking ways to improve services.”
“Although I do not believe any racial profiling took place based on the information I currently have, I welcome feedback from our community on ways that our law enforcement practices can be improved while still maintaining the law,” Bowman went on to say. “More than anything, we want feedback from the passengers of the Delaware University lacrosse team.”
Yeeeeah, the team already gave their feedback in the school newspaper. Spoiler alert: They said they were racially profiled and traumatized by the search.