/  05.10.2022

On April 19, Delaware State University’s female lacrosse team, the Hornets, had just played the last game of the season at Stetson University in Deland, Florida. The following day the girls were traveling north on I-95 in Liberty County, Georgia, southwest of Savannah as they headed back to the university when they were stopped by law enforcement officials.

What happened next now has people talking.

Officers pulled the bus over, initially stating that the driver Tim Jones had been improperly traveling in the left lane.

Sydney Anderson, a sophomore lacrosse player present during the traffic stop, detailed the events. Anderson published her side of the story for the school’s newspaper last week (May 4).

According to those present, several white Georgia deputies began to search the charter bus of the mostly Black lacrosse student-athletes and coaches.

Saniya Craft, one of the players onboard, posted a video of the deputies saying, “If there is anything in y’all’s luggage, we’re probably gonna find it, OK? I’m not looking for a little bit of marijuana, but I’m pretty sure you guys’ chaperones are probably gonna be disappointed in you if we find any.”

Those present for the ordeal said that a drug-sniffing canine was on the scene as authorities instructed Jones to open the bus’ cargo storage area.

“If there is something in there that’s questionable, please tell me now because if we find it, guess what? We’re not gonna be able to help you,” a deputy announced to the women’s lacrosse team.

Aniya Aiken, a senior player, was traveling with a gift from a family member in her belongings. A deputy asked Aiken what it was and when she responded saying she didn’t know because it was a wrapped gift, he responded, “You accepted something and you don’t know what it is?

Yesterday (May 9), DSU President Tony Allen released a letter addressing the incident. Allen alerted Delaware Gov. John Carney, the state Attorney General’s Office, Delaware’s congressional delegation and the Congressional Black Caucus about the troubling traffic stop.

“They, like me, are incensed. We have also reached out to Georgia Law Enforcement and are exploring options for recourse – legal and otherwise – available to our student-athletes, our coaches, and the university,” Allen said in the statement.

Yesterday, Delaware State coach Pamella Jenkins praised the girls for keeping their composure during the incident.

Jenkins said, “One of my student-athletes asked them ‘How did we go from a routine traffic stop to narcotics-sniffing dogs going through our belongings?’”

Gov. Carney called the video “upsetting, concerning and disappointing.”

Allen announced, “We do not intend to let this or any other incident like it pass idly by. We are prepared to go wherever the evidence leads us. We have video. We have allies. Perhaps more significantly, we have the courage of our convictions.”

As of yesterday, the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office had not released a statement regarding the incident.