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Shaw University Files Official Complaint with U.S. Department of Justice Regarding South Carolina Traffic Stop and Vehicle Drug Search

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Shaw University Files Official Complaint with U.S. Department of Justice Regarding South Carolina Traffic Stop and Vehicle Drug Search
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ShawU-Press-Conference-11.21

Media Contact: publicrelations@shawu.edu FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 11/21/2022

RALEIGH, N.C. – During a press conference on Monday, Nov. 21, representatives for Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina, announced that the university has filed an official complaint with the United States Department of Justice to “Request for an investigation into Title VI and Civil Rights Violations committed by the Spartanburg County and the Cherokee County, South Carolina Sheriff’s Offices.” Page 1 of the filing states, “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 official letter highlights three key areas of concern:

  1. Search and Seizure Under the Pretext of an Alleged Lane Violation
  2. Violation of the Passengers’ Reasonable Expectation of Privacy
  3. Operation Rolling Thunder

The filing is in response to an Oct. 5 traffic stop of a Shaw University-chartered bus in Spartanburg County, South Carolina, transporting a group of 18 students who were on their way to Atlanta, Georgia, for a financial leadership conference. The traffic stop was cited as a minor traffic lane violation by law enforcement officials, which then resulted in a drug search of the bus luggage compartments and several students’ personal belongings. Nothing was found during the search.

During her remarks at the press conference, Shaw University President Dr. Paulette Dillard said: “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. The harmful effects of eroding individual rights under the pretext of law and order are real – and they are rampant all over the country.”

The media alert, news release, a transcript of Dr. Dillard’s remarks, and a copy of the official letter to the Department of Justice are available online on the university’s website landing page, which can be accessed via the following link:

https://shawu.link/press-conference

Shaw University, located in Raleigh, North Carolina, is the first historically Black institution of higher education founded in North Carolina and is among the oldest in the nation. The University was founded in 1865 by Henry Martin Tupper. Dr. Paulette Dillard currently serves as the University’s 18th President. For more information, visit: www.shawu.edu

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