Tell Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis: We demand justice for Sandra Bland. The new video of Sandra’s arrest has us demanding answers.
The new video of Sandra’s arrest has us demanding answers.
We will never forget the viral video of Sandra Bland’s violent arrest in 2015. Many of us were struck with horror as we witnessed Texas State Trooper Brian Encinia, drag Sandra from her car and threaten to “light her up” because she refused to put out her cigarette. It was a shocking moment of unbridled hostility. The officer who violently assaulted her was only charged with perjury for lying about the circumstances that led to Sandra’s arrest–a charge that was later dropped in a deal that the DA never consulted Sandra’s family on. This is not enough–rarely are police officers held accountable for their criminal behavior and we won’t accept anything but justice for Sandra Bland.
Now an uncovered self-recorded video of Sandra’s arrest has sparked a new wave of outrage. The cell phone video allows us to visualize just a small part of how Sandra experienced her own arrest. It’s crucial information that proves what we already knew: Brian Encinia did way more than lie about Sandra’s arrest, he assaulted a woman who posed no threat to him.
If we can force DA Mathis to bring criminal charges against Brian Encinia in front of a grand jury for Sandra’s arrest — it not only highlights the web of corruption in Waller County but also uplifts the larger issue of police accountability that is needed in this country. Will you join us?
We don’t doubt that Sandra Bland died as a result of the white supremacy that runs rampant in the Waller County Police department. In 2015, Color Of Change members put their money together to fund an investigation in Waller County. The investigation revealed corruption at every level, from the district attorney to the judges and the sheriff. It’s clear to us that misconduct in Waller County is still a problem and we won’t stop until we get answers.
Our report revealed there was a conflict of interest between the county judge and the law firm of the man conducting the investigation into Sandra’s case.1 It all came down to the fact that Waller County officials did not want to risk revealing the inevitable civil rights violations, and criminal behavior that riddles the justice system. They even said, “He (Sheriff Glenn Smith) can read it or not read it,” of the investigative report “if he wants to throw the whole thing in the trash can, he can.” Ultimately, Waller County officials did not want to deal with the financial costs of paying Sandra’s family.2 Elton Mathis is the same DA that blamed Sandra’s death on her family’s inability to make bail and is still in office. We need your help to hold him accountable.
Waller County’s Sheriff Glenn Smith has even been asked to step down, but he refused. He’s being accused of sexually assaulting a woman while she was in custody at a Waller County Jail. And this accusation is just the most recent in a list of other controversies and scandals that plague Waller County’s justice system.
Sandra was a young 28-year-old when she died. In the aftermath of Sandra’s arrest and devastating death, her family and community were left to cope with a slew of unanswered questions. Since 2015, Sandra’s family has undoubtedly suffered knowing that Waller County’s most powerful individuals are preventing them from knowing the truth about her death. We know that Black people are not safe in Waller County, we are literally dying because of the lack of accountability that supports the actions of officers like Brian Encinia.
Sandra’s death sparked a national conversation about prosecutor accountability and catalyzed us to go after the money bail industry. Sandra was held on a $5,000 bail that kept her from freedom. We responded by building an apparatus that mobilized community members, like you, to respond to those elected officials in power who are perpetuating systemic levers that fuel mass incarceration. District Attorney’s have the power to enact policies and infrastructure that end the widespread use of money bail and hold police officers to a higher standard. We saw Anita Alvarez get kicked out of office because she ignored DNA evidence, and suppressed the tape of Laquan McDonald being shot in the back. Similarly, we want DA Mathis to know that he will be held accountable to Black communities.
Until justice is real,
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