Spartanburg County sheriff Chuck Wright said in a press conference Monday that his officers were not racially motivated when they stopped a bus full of students from Shaw University, a historically Black college, which was passing through South Carolina, WRAL reported. He criticized the president of the North Carolina institution, Paulette Dillard, for writing an open letter that accused the officers of racially profiling the students last month.
Wright said the officers were concerned that the bus driver was possibly tired and failing to stay in his lane. He added that 39 other buses were stopped on the same highway that day, and officers had a drug dog sniff students’ luggage because of frequent drug trafficking there.
The Spartanburg County and Cherokee County sheriff’s offices released video of the incident Monday, according to WRAL.
“I wish racism would die the ugly, cruel death it deserves. If anything we are ever doing is racist, I want to know it, and I want to fix it, and I want to never let it happen again,” Wright said. “But this case right here was nothing to do with racism. I have no idea why the president wrote the letter the way she wrote it,” he continued. “I really have no idea why she won’t come down here and look at the video.”
Dillard wrote in her letter that she was “outraged” by what happened and believed the traffic stop would not have occurred if the students hadn’t been Black.
“This behavior of targeting Black students is unacceptable and will not be ignored nor tolerated,” she said. “Had the students been white, I doubt this detention and search would have occurred.”