The story of Sandra Bland, a woman who was pulled over for a traffic violation, and later died in prison, gained international attention in July. An official autopsy report ruled her death a suicide but some people were skeptical. Her family publicly rejected the idea that Bland killed herself, launching an investigation into the cause of her death. “Based on the Sandy that I knew, that's unfathomable to me,” said Bland’s sister, Sharon Cooper.
It was announced on Monday that there will be no indictment for her death. The ruling concludes that neither the sheriff's department nor the jailers committed a crime in their treatment of Bland. Special prosecutor, Darrell Jordan said that “the case is still open,” and that the Grand Jury will reconvene next month to discuss other parts of the case. “It’s all in the way you phrase it,” said Mr. Jordan, who is one of five special prosecutors in the case. “The case is not over. That’s what I’m stressing right now. The case is not over.”
Bland, who was 28, had just moved to Texas from Illinois and was beginning a new life. She had accepted a new job at Prairie View A&M University, her alma mater according to the New York Times. The policeman who arrested her claimed that she had failed to use the turning signal when switching lanes. When he spoke to her in her car, she refused to put out her cigarette and questioned his motives for pulling her over. The officer then demanded that she get out of the car, threatening to tase her saying, “I will light you up,” at which point Bland stepped out of the car.
The dash camera does not capture video of what happened once the officer and Bland stepped out of frame, however, Bland can be heard saying, “You are about to break my wrist.” She also told the police officer that she could not hear and that her head had been slammed into the ground.A nearby civilian captured the ordeal on camera, Bland thanked the person for filming. "Thank you for recording, thank you." she said. "For a traffic signal, they slammed me into the ground and everything."
Bland’s death occurred during the upsurge of the Black Lives Matter movement, inciting conversation about the treatment of black people by police in our country. Bland was a supporter of the movement, speaking openly about the issue in videos on her Facebook page.
Cannon Lambert, a lawyer for the Bland family, said on Monday night that the family was disappointed that they had not been more informed about the investigation. He said the family had first learned that there would be no indictment through news reports.
“We are unfortunately disappointed by the fact that our suspicions regarding this sham of a process have come to fruition,” he said.
— Law Street (@LawStreetMedia) December 22, 2015
— REVOLT TV (@RevoltTV) December 22, 2015
We need to reform a very broken criminal justice system. pic.twitter.com/kUMYQIv8rn
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) December 22, 2015
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