Today, Congresswoman Deborah Ross (NC-02) led members of the North Carolina delegation in urging the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to conduct a thorough review of the search of eighteen Shaw University students that took place in Spartanburg, South Carolina earlier this month. The letter also calls for a pattern-of-practice investigation of the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office, which has received multiple allegations of racial bias in recent years. Congresswoman Ross represents Shaw University in Congress.

“Shaw University, an HBCU in Raleigh, North Carolina, had chartered a bus to drive these students to the Center for Financial Advancement Conference in Atlanta. On October 5th, their bus was pulled over for a minor traffic violation in Spartanburg County, South Carolina. 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,” the Members wrote.

The Members continued, “To that end, we reiterate support for a DOJ investigation into this incident and any systemic patterns of misconduct by the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office… We believe transparency and accountability are necessary for ensuring justice for the Shaw students directly involved in the incident, as well as the larger Shaw and Raleigh communities.”

Representatives Alma Adams (NC-12), G. K. Butterfield (NC-01), Kathy Manning (NC-06), and David Price (NC-04) joined the letter. Full text of the letter can be found here.