No indictment, no transparency in Sandra Bland case



The American justice system has failed another citizen with its decision not to indict anyone in the Sandra Bland case.

Bland was found dead in a jail cell on July 13, after she was arrested and accused of assaulting a police officer during a traffic stop on July 10. Bland was originally pulled over for failing to signal a lane change in Texas.

The Texas Department of Public Safety said that during the traffic stop Bland became argumentative and uncooperative after the arresting officer told her to put out her cigarette. Bland refused and the officer, Brian Encinia, opened her door and told her, “I’m going to yank you out of (the car).”

However, there is no law that states one cannot smoke cigarettes during a traffic stop. Bland being asked to step out of the car for this reason was a violation of her rights.

A cell phone video supposedly showing Bland’s arrest was posted online, showing the officer using his knee to hold a woman on the ground. Later in the video, she is heard asking, “You just slammed my head into the ground, do you not care about that?”

She is also heard saying, “for a traffic signal!”

The grand jury decided that no indictments could be handed out for anyone involved in this case. “The grand jury has looked at all the evidence and found no evidence of murder,” said special prosecutor Darrell Jordan, who is handling the case.

However, the grand jury will reconvene in January to decide if people need to be indicted on other charges related to Bland’s case.

When Bland’s family learned of her death, they were trying to raise 10 percent of her $5,000 bail for her release.

Bland’s autopsy found that she suffered from deep tissue bruising to her back. Three days after her arrest, Bland was found dead in her cell. Authorities said that she hanged herself with a plastic trash bag.

The news of no indictment leads more and more citizens to distrust the judicial system, and the police. People need transparency so that if someone really does commit suicide while in jail, the public has no reason to believe there was foul play.

There are many questions that arose around the time of her death: how did 6-foot-tall Bland manage to hang herself in such a small cell and was the dash-cam footage that was released tampered with?

Many of these questions were left unanswered, leaving the public out of the loop with what really happened in that jail cell, and what ultimately caused Sandra Bland’s death.

Police departments need to learn that having the trust of the people you’re policing is essential to effective policing. As of right now, the African-American community has very little trust in the police and our justice system as a whole.

Savon Gray is a journalism sophomore.

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