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Georgia sheriff said deputies never searched Delaware lacrosse team's bags, but bodycam shows otherwise

Body camera video shows at least one deputy tearing open a gift from one of the player's aunts. It was a dictionary.

LIBERTY COUNTY, Ga. — Newly released body camera footage shows Liberty County deputies stopping Delaware State's women's lacrosse team.

"Reason I'm stopping you is left lane violation," one deputy said in the video. 

Deputies were searching for possible drugs after stopping other vehicles carrying contraband.

Players on the bus also recorded their point of view.

"I'm not looking for a little bit of marijuana but I'm pretty sure the chaperones will be disappointed if we find any," another deputy is heard telling players. 

Players like Sydney Anderson believe the marijuana accusations were racially motivated.

"Majority of my team is Black, my head coach is Black, and the bus driver was Black. So, there was no correlation between a traffic law violation and them checking our luggage," Anderson said. 

Liberty County Sheriff William Bowman claims because of the tinted windows; deputies couldn't have known the race of the people on board.

He also said the players' bags were never searched.

"No personal items on the bus or person were searched," Bowman said. 

But body camera video shows at least one deputy tearing open a gift from one of the player's aunts.

It was a dictionary. No drugs were ever found.

"It's a bunch of dang school girls on the bus probably some weed, maybe," a deputy is heard saying in the video.

Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings said she's deeply troubled by the April incident. She said the deputies' reasoning for the search is questionable.

Jennings is now asking the Department of Justice to investigate the stop. 

"Ladies, we don't single anybody out. This is our job. This is what we do," a deputy said.

The president of the university called the search "irrational."

During a virtual press conference Friday, university president Tony Allen announced the university’s intention to file a formal complaint with the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice based on police misconduct.

He called the stop and search “constitutionally dubious,” saying the evidence is “clear and compelling” from the university’s standpoint.

Bowman said the stop is being formally reviewed, but he refused to comment further.