RALEIGH, N.C. (WSPA/WNCN) – Five North Carolina members of Congress are calling on the Department of Justice to investigate a police search of a Shaw University bus during Operation Rolling Thunder in Spartanburg County, South Carolina earlier this month.
Operation Rolling Thunder was a weeklong effort to remove drugs and other items off Spartanburg County highways.
On Oct. 5, deputies pulled over a bus that had 18 students and staff members on board. Shaw University officials complained but did not identify the agency involved or the highway involved.
Five North Carolina members of Congress sent a letter asking the U.S. Justice Department to conduct a thorough review of the search.
The letter said the bus was pulled over for a minor traffic violation along a highway in Spartanburg County.
The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office said Sheriff Wright spoke by phone with President Dillard three times this week and offered her an opportunity to come to review video from the traffic stop.
The first two times, President Dillard said she had a conflict with the suggested time and date.
A meeting was planned to take place Friday afternoon, but the sheriff’s office said President Dillard backed out of the meeting.
A meeting is now planned for Monday at 10 a.m.
CBS 17 reached out to Shaw University for comment Friday but did not receive any response.
The letter also said, “At this point, multiple deputies and drug-sniffing dogs searched the belongings of the students and staff in the vehicle. No illicit materials were found, and the students were left unnerved, confused, and humiliated. We are deeply troubled by this unfounded search of Shaw students.”
In response, Shaw University President Paulette Dillard released a statement that said, “In a word, I am ‘outraged.’ This behavior of targeting Black students is unacceptable and will not be ignored nor tolerated,” Dillard said. “Had the students been White, I doubt this detention and search would have occurred.”