Sandra Bland screamed at Texas State Troopers, “You just slammed my head to the ground. Do you not even care about that?” Those were among last words of the 28-year-old, apparently a Targeted Individual (TI). The police agency involved in the case are now trying to get away with policing themselves after Bland was found dead in her Waller County, Texas, jail cell Monday at 9 a.m, 72 hours after assaulted. Police claim she committed suicide, sparking outrage.
What Happened to Sandra Bland?
Friday, Texas State troopers pulled Bland over as she drove to her new job. Police allege she did not use the turn signals during a lane change. What happened next was all too familiar and terrifying.
An eye-witness says police ripped Sandra out of the car, violently slammed her on the ground, and arrested her as she screamed for help. Only 72 two hours later, she was dead.
Police claim Bland took her own life. Her family and friends don’t believe it. Local District Attorney Elton Mathis has stated he has no reason to expect foul play and handed the investigation to the same police agency that arrested Sandra.
After a video emerged today of the police assault on Bland, outrage across the nation increased. An officer can be heard in the video demanding the person videoing stop.
District Attorney Mathis stated there was no reason for concern, despite the fact that an allegedly routine traffic stopped turned into a violent arrest is itself a cause for concern. Sandra’s family says that Sandra would never kill herself and that police seem to be covering up her death.
“We must demand that local officials release all video, information and photographs relating to Sandra’s unjust arrest, imprisonment and death,” says Color of Change..
A more graphic video of Bland’s arrest was posted by BBC@World in which she can be heard yelling, “I can’t hear. I can’t even hear!”
The local police department, sheriff and prosecutor’s office have a long history of racism and corruption. Last year, DA Mathis threatened a local Reverend who spoke out about racist prosecutions, saying he would release his “hounds” on the Reverend. Waller County Sheriff Glenn Smith was fired from the police department in Hempstead, Texas for documented cases of racism.
According to Bland’s loved ones, she was a compassionate woman, with a bright future.
Today would have been her first day at her new job as a student outreach at her alma mater, Prairie View A&M University. Bright, spirited, with a thirst for life is how her loved ones described her.
She was also probably a targeted individual (TI) for being a vocal advocate against police brutality and often speaking about ending racism and police violence. Did police just happen to be where she was to violently arrest her? Or, were they stalking her, spying on her, waiting for her to make some small human error to brutalize her?
“Our hearts and minds are with her friends and family as they move through this unimaginably hard time,” Color Of Change stated in a statement. “But in a world where Black people are stereotyped as ‘violent’ and police exist to enforce the boundaries of a deeply divided and racist society, who Sandy was or the life she was creating, did not matter. What mattered was that she was Black, and therefore, in the eyes of the law, didn’t deserve respect, didn’t deserve her civil rights, her freedom or her life. To be Black in America, is to be safe nowhere.”
But what about white women attacked by black police officers, some cry. Facts are facts. Black women are 3 to 4 times more likely to be targeted by police and incarcerated than white women. (Incarcerated Women, The Sentencing Project 08-2015, Online: http://act.colorofchange.org/go/5005?t=13&akid=4541.83518.lyOMow)
Meow Mix commented: “When is the last time you got pulled over for failing to signal? I suppose you signal all the time because you are perfect. I could believe it if she ran a red light or was speeding. But in this case failing to signal should be read as “driving while black” and it seems that is illegal in that town.
The Department of Justice and Attorney General Lynch have power and a responsibility to address systemic police violence targeting Black communities.
“The reality is, racism, corruption and a deep-seated culture of secrecy prevents local and state police from holding themselves accountable. Without independent oversight, police will continue to kill and prosecutors will continue to do nothing,” says Color of Change. “We should not have to demand justice, every time a Black person is murdered, but we will continue to do so until the justice system respects Black lives.”
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