What is this, 2022 or 1962?
That’s a question a lot of people are asking today after reading news reports on the actions of South Carolina law enforcement officials last Friday.
This is from a report from WTVD ABC 11 television:
Eighteen Shaw University students were stopped and searched while riding to an economic conference in Atlanta.
University President Dr. Paulette Dillard said the stop and search happened on Oct. 5.
The group was riding in a bus to the Center for Financial Advancement Conference when deputies in Spartanburg County, South Carolina, pulled the bus over. Dillard said the bus was pulled over for a minor traffic violation and then deputies used drug-sniffing dogs to search through students’ suitcases.
Dillard said the moment was reminiscent of the 1950s and 60s.
“In a word, I am ‘outraged.’ This behavior of targeting Black students is unacceptable and will not be ignored nor tolerated. Had the students been White, I doubt this detention and search would have occurred,” she said.
And this is from a report by Raleigh’s News & Observer:
Dillard believes race was a factor in the decision to search the bus.
“The action taken by South Carolina Law Enforcement in Spartanburg County was unfair and unjust. I firmly believe had the bus been occupied by white students, they would not have been detained,” she said.
The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office has not responded to The News & Observer’s requests for comment. The South Carolina Highway Patrol was not involved in the incident, according to a spokesperson.
Dillard should be angry — as should all caring and thinking people in both states. Anyone who thinks that a bus full of kids from, say, Raleigh’s exclusive St. Mary’s School (which is located just a couple miles from the Shaw campus), or an all-white church would have been subjected to the same invasive treatment is kidding themselves.
Gov. Roy Cooper should immediately contact South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster to seek a full explanation and absent a really good one, demand a full and very public apology to each of the people on the bus whose privacy was so outrageously violated.