SC sheriffs refute Shaw University president's account of traffic stop, released

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Monday, October 31, 2022
SC sheriffs refute Shaw University president's account of traffic stop
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Two South Carolina sheriffs addressed a traffic stop of a bus with Shaw University students after being called out by the school's president.

SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WTVD) -- Two South Carolina sheriffs addressed when deputies pulled over a bus full of Shaw University students and searched them.

Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright said the timeline of events is different than what Shaw University President Dr. Paulette Dillard claims to have happened.

"President Dillard said they were searched by blood-thirsty dogs. There was one dog, he was on a leash. Students were never even close to that dog. None of the students were even asked off the bus," Sheriff Wright said during the press conference.

WATCH: Full press conference found below

He went on to say that he has tried three times to speak with Dr. Dillard but has not been successful. A leader from the NAACP in South Carolina looked at the video and saw nothing, according to the sheriff.

"I wish racism would die the ugly cruel death it deserves. And if anything we are ever doing is racist, I want to know it, I want to fix it and I want to never let it happen again, but this case right here has nothing to do with racism," Sheriff Wright said.

It comes as five members of Congress sent a letter to the Attorney General asking his office to look into the search.

The president of Shaw University says the bus of 18 students was stopped and searched while heading to an economic conference in Atlanta on October 5.

The president of the HBCU said the bus was pulled over for a minor traffic violation, but then deputies used drug-sniffing dogs to search the students.

In a statement university President Dr. Paulette Dillard said the moment was reminiscent of the 1950s and 60s and believes the students were racially profiled.

ABC11 has reached out for comment from the university but has not heard back yet.

NC Congress woman Deborah Ross provided this statement to ABC11

"Sheriff Wright's response to our request for a DOJ investigation underscores the critical need for a thorough review of this search as well as a pattern-of-practice investigation. If he is confident that this search was not racially motivated, then he should welcome an independent investigation. We need to fully understand the rationale for conducting a search of this nature as well as how often the department employs these tactics."