Death of Sandra Bland

Death of Sandra Bland
2015 death of a woman in Texas police custody

Death of Sandra BlandSandra Bland re-crop.jpg visualize from Bland ‘s LinkedIn reportDateJuly 13, 2015 ( )

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Timec. 9:00 a.m. (CDT)LocationWaller County Jail, Hempstead, TexasCoordinates (traffic stop)
Coordinates: CauseAsphyxiation (ruled suicide)CoronerHarris County Medical Examiner
Sandra Bland was a 28-year-old african-american woman who was found hanged in a imprison cell in Waller County, Texas, on July 13, 2015, three days after being arrested during a pretextual traffic check. [ 1 ] [ 2 ] Her death was ruled a suicide. It was followed by protests against her check, disputing the cause of death and alleging racial ferocity against her. [ 3 ] [ 4 ] Bland was pulled over for a minor traffic rape on July 10 by State Trooper Brian Encinia. The switch over escalated, resulting in Bland ‘s arrest and a cathexis of assaulting a police officer. The halt was partially recorded by Encinia ‘s dashcam, a bystander ‘s cell telephone, and Bland ‘s own cell earphone. After authorities reviewed the dashcam footage, Encinia was placed on administrative leave for failing to follow proper traffic intercept procedures. [ 5 ] [ 6 ] Texas authorities and the FBI conducted an probe into Bland ‘s death [ 5 ] [ 7 ] and determined the Waller County imprison did not follow necessitate policies, including time checks on inmates and ensuring that employees had completed required genial health train. [ 8 ] In December 2015, a fantastic jury declined to indict the county sheriff and jail staff for a felony relating to Bland ‘s death. The following calendar month, Encinia was indicted for perjury for making false statements about the circumstances surrounding Bland ‘s catch, and he was subsequently fired by the Texas Department of Public Safety ( DPS ). [ 9 ] In September 2016, Bland ‘s mother settled a wrongful death lawsuit against the county jail and patrol department for $ 1.9 million and some procedural changes. [ 10 ] [ 11 ] In June 2017, the perjury accusation against Encinia was dropped in return for his agreement to permanently end his law enforcement career. In 2019, Bland ‘s cell earphone television became available to the public and to Bland ‘s family for the first base time. [ 12 ] The television was obtained and shown by Dallas news program station WFAA. [ 13 ] This video was not available during the civil trials. [ 12 ]

background [edit ]

Sandra Bland [edit ]

Sandra Annette Bland ( February 7, 1987 – July 13, 2015 ) was from Naperville, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, and was one of five sisters. She attended Willowbrook High School in Villa Park, Illinois, then Prairie View A & M University outside Hempstead in Waller County, Texas, where she was a member of the Sigma Gamma Rho sorority. She graduated in 2009 with a academic degree in agriculture. [ 14 ] [ 15 ] At Prairie View, she was recruited as a summer advocate for three years, played in the parade band, and volunteered for a elder citizens advocacy group. [ 14 ] Bland returned to Illinois in 2009. She worked in presidency for Cook ‘s Direct, a food-service equipment supplier, a job she left shortly before her death. She had been due to start a irregular job on August 3, 2015, with Prairie View as a summer broadcast associate. [ 15 ] In January 2015, Bland began posting television about many subjects, including police mistreatment of african Americans. [ 14 ] In one station she wrote, “ In the news that we ‘ve seen as of late, you could stand there, surrender to the cops, and hush be killed. ” [ 16 ] She has been described as a civil rights activist in Chicago, and a part of the Black Lives Matter campaign. [ 17 ] [ 18 ] Bland had at least ten previous traffic-related encounters with police in Illinois and Texas, and had been charged five times for driving without policy, four times for travel rapidly, and once each for driving while intoxicated and drug possession. Her final conviction was for shoplift, and she owed $ 7,579 in unpaid fines at the time of her end. [ 19 ]

Brian Encinia [edit ]

Brian Encinia was 30 years old at the time of the incident, and is listed in Texas voter records as Hispanic. [ 20 ] He graduated from Texas A & M University in 2008 with a degree in agricultural leadership and development. [ 21 ]

Traffic stop [edit ]

Encinia had a history of performing pretextual traffic stops, having issued 1,600 largely child tickets in less than 12 months, using the guise of little-enforced minor infractions to then perform random searches in the hope of finding something criminal. [ 2 ] He began following Bland in Prairie View, Texas on the good afternoon of July 10, 2015, accelerating fast on her back, closing in therefore near to her that she changed lanes to give him the correctly of way, believing he was headed to an hand brake call [ 2 ] – at which point he pulled her over on University Drive [ 22 ] for failure to signal a lane variety. [ 23 ] [ 24 ] In a series of events recorded by his dashcam, along with a bystander and Bland herself, Encinia spoke to Bland, the interaction became heated, and he pulled her from her car. After they moved out of frame, he forced her on the ground, and arrested her. [ 5 ]

External videovideo icon on YouTube – the second DPS upload, reportedly free of “irregularities” (Bland from 1:45)video icon on YouTube – filmed by bystandervideo icon on YouTube – filmed by Bland
In reception to controversy over Bland ‘s collar and death, on July 21 the Texas Department of Public Safety ( DPS ) released dashcam footage of the halt. [ 25 ] Parts of the video appeared to be edited, with images of cars and people appearing or vanishing on the road, while the sound recording of Encinia ‘s part proceeded without pause. [ 24 ] [ 26 ] A DPS spokesperson said that irregularities in the video recording resulted from technical issues that occurred when the video recording was posted. [ 27 ] DPS then took down the problem video and replaced it with another translation. [ 28 ] The footage shows that Encinia ‘s shade and attitude change after he asks if Bland is irritated and she answers affirmatively. He initially wrote a routine traffic rape warning for Bland after she moved over but did not signal to let him pass since he was tailing her closely. After he returns to her car and speaks concisely to her again, he asks her to put out her cigarette. She responds, “ Why do I have to put out a cigarette when I ‘m in my own car ? ” [ 17 ] Encinia orders her to “ get out of the car ”, [ 17 ] and, when she repeatedly refuses to exit, he tells her she is under apprehension. [ 29 ] Bland repeatedly asks why she is under halt, and Encinia responds, “ I am giving you a lawful order. ” [ 29 ] She refuses to leave her car, stating she is not under arrest as she is unaware of the reason and not obliged to. [ 17 ] Encinia then opens her car doorway and tells her more than a twelve times to get out of the car [ 30 ] before he tries to pull her out. After struggling, he draws his Taser and points it at Bland, [ 17 ] shouting “ I will light you up ! Get out ! now ! “, at which point she exits her fomite. [ 24 ] [ 29 ] once Bland is out of her car, the military officer orders her to put down her cell telephone and tells her she is going to jail. In reaction, Bland asks why. In the video, both Bland and the officer be active to the passenger side of the vehicle and are no longer visible, [ 31 ] while they continue to argue heatedly. Bland can be heard crying and screaming. [ 24 ] Bland ‘s own 39-second television of part of the confrontation, which had been in monomania of state investigators, was discovered in 2019 and aired by a Texas television receiver station. Bland ‘s kin and their lawyer in the civil lawsuit title that the express had not given them this testify. The Texas Department of Public Safety disagree. [ 13 ] [ 12 ]

eyewitness accounts [edit ]

In a video recording recorded by a bystander, Bland is lying on the ground with Encinia and a female police policeman above her. Bland says that she can not hear, and states that the military officer has slammed her head into the establish. She tells him that she is epileptic. This is confirmed by patrol dashcam video recording footage, in which the officer responds “ dear, ” after Bland informs him of her condition. In the television, Encinia orders the bystander to leave the area. [ 32 ] Sandra Bland besides recorded the halt on her own cell earphone ; that video became public in 2019, and was not part of the civil trial evidence. [ 13 ]

collar [edit ]

DPS stated that Bland was arrested because she kicked Encinia. [ 31 ] She was charged with assaulting a public handmaid. [ 3 ] DPS said that she “ became argumentative and disobliging ” during the arrest. [ 33 ] Officers took her to the Waller County Jail and placed her in a cell alone because they deemed her a high risk to others. [ 18 ] After her catch, Bland told her sister that the arresting officer had pushed his knees into her back, and that she feared her weapon was broken. [ 5 ] A Houston television station states it obtained a voice message left by Bland after her check in which she asked, “ How did switching lanes with no signal turn into all of this ? ” [ 34 ]

captivity and end [edit ]

Death of Sandra Bland Waller County sheriff ‘s office and jail Bland ‘s bail was set at $ 5,000. According to a instruction from the jail officials, she had been given multiple opportunities to find person who could post adhesiveness including a man she was staying with in Texas who “ ignored her calls ”. Her bondman besides made respective attempts to secure bail. [ 35 ] Her family by and by stated they were attempting to secure the 10 percentage ( $ 500 ) needed to secure her release. [ 36 ] On July 28, authorities released respective hours of video showing Bland at diverse times during her imprison arrest, including arriving at the jail, having her chump shoot taken, and making telephone calls ( see § Waller County Jail television ). They said the footage was being released to dispel rumors and conspiracy theories, including that she was dead before she arrived at the imprison and that her mug shoot was taken after her death. At a newsworthiness conference, Waller County Judge Trey Duhon said that such rumors have resulted in death threats against county officials : “ Because of some of the things that ‘s [ ⁠ sic ⁠ ] gone out on social media, this county has been literally attacked. ” Duhon said the FBI was investigating the most good threats. [ 37 ] Alexandria Pyle, an inmate hold in the adjacent cell, former told the media that Bland seemed “ sort of distraught ”, was very emotional, and was crying frequently. Pyle, who spoke to Bland through a bantam chute, said Bland was upset that her acquaintance had not come to bail her out. Pyle stated that she never heard any loud noise or disturbance that would indicate foul play in Bland ‘s death. [ 38 ]

discovery by prison guard [edit ]

Police stated that at 6:30 ante meridiem on July 13, Bland refused breakfast, and a half-hour later told a prison guard “ I ‘m fine. ” [ 5 ] According to Captain Brian Cantrell, about an hour after stating that she was all right, Bland asked via intercommunication system how to make a call call. Cantrell stated that Bland was informed she could use the phone in her cell with a PIN, but stated there was no record Bland made any call. [ 31 ] [ 39 ] Police stated that at 9:00 ante meridiem, Bland was found “ in a semi-standing placement ” hang in her cellular telephone. [ 5 ] [ 31 ] The following day, shortly after noon, patrol issued a instruction that Bland had been found dead in her cell, and that they believed she had hanged herself. On July 20, one workweek after Bland ‘s end, authorities released video from a motion-activated television camera in the hallway outside Bland ‘s cell. [ 39 ] The video shows no bowel movement in and out of the cell from 7:34 to 9:07 ante meridiem, she is discovered by a female officeholder after that time, which led to resuscitation procedures being performed on Bland ‘s body. [ 31 ]

Harris County autopsy [edit ]

An autopsy conducted by the Harris County Institute of Forensic Science concluded that Bland died through suffocation, and classified her death as a suicide. [ 31 ] Police stated that Bland had used a fictile drivel bulge to hang herself. [ 5 ] The autopsy report showed Bland had multiple abrasions on the correct side of her binding, little abrasions on her wrists, [ 40 ] and 25 to 30 healing, twin cuts on her left forearm that predated her arrest. [ 41 ] [ 42 ] [ 8 ]

toxicology [edit ]

An initial toxicology report released by the Harris County checkup examiner ‘s office found “ a signally high concentration ” of THC for person who had been in jail for three days, leading to guess that Bland may have had access to marijuana while in imprison. Waller County adjunct district lawyer, Warren Diepraam said that it was more probably that Bland had ingested a very large come of cannabis prior to her catch. A toxicologist for the Tarrant County aesculapian examiner ‘s office agreed, indicating a THC grade arsenic high as Bland ‘s suggests she “ either had access to the drug in imprison or she was a reproducible drug user of the drug and her torso had accumulated THC to the detail that it was slowly releasing it over time. ” But he added : “ I have never seen a report in the literature or from any other reference of residual THC that high three days after person stops using the drug. ” [ 43 ] [ 44 ]

funeral [edit ]

Bland ‘s funeral was held on July 22 at DuPage african Methodist Episcopal Church in Lisle, Illinois. [ 45 ]

initial reactions [edit ]

Calls for mugwump probe [edit ]

family and friends called for an freelancer autopsy, and stated that it was improbable Bland would have killed herself. [ 5 ] Bland ‘s syndicate said that she was cheerful about the job she was about to begin for Prairie View A & M University. [ 46 ] In March, Bland posted a television to her Facebook foliate in which she said was suffering from “ a small morsel of depression deoxyadenosine monophosphate well as PTSD “. [ 47 ] Her sister said that Bland had no “ medically diagnose clinical depressive disorder ”, but had good and bad days. Cannon Lambert, the family ‘s lawyer, stated that Bland ‘s March post gave little reading of her mentality around the clock of her death. [ 17 ] A friend who spoke with Bland while she was in imprison said she was upbeat despite the halt : “ It equitable makes no common sense. Sandy was a soldier ; she was n’t fazed about it. ” [ 14 ]

critical reaction and protests [edit ]

In the two days after authorities announced her death, 31,000 people tweeted using the hashtag # SandraBland, and an on-line prayer launched calling for an probe of Bland ‘s death. [ 48 ] After three days, 200,000 people had tweeted her name. [ 16 ] On July 17, about 150 protesters gathered outside the Hempstead imprison, chanting “ No judge, no peace “, and “ We demand answers. ” [ 49 ] [ 50 ] Protesters outside the imprison where Bland died held vigils and demanded an explanation for her death. By July 29, 2015, at least twelve protests had been held for Bland around the nation. [ 51 ] Protesters besides asked why Bland had been stopped, and alleged racial profile. [ 3 ] Reverend Jamal Bryant of the Empowerment Temple AME Church in Baltimore traveled to Chicago at the Bland kin ‘s request, and called Bland ‘s death “ not a case of suicide, but homicide. ” [ 39 ] Texas State Senator Royce West called Bland ‘s death fishy. [ 52 ] After meeting with law enforcement and other officials to discuss the circumstances surrounding Bland ‘s death, he said that “ the kind of data disclosed on Bland ‘s consumption kind should have prompted imprison officials to place Bland on a suicide watch, meaning a face-to-face check on her wellbeing every 15 minutes rather of the hourly checks normally required. ” [ 34 ] Bland ‘s end resulted in protests, and calls for probe by family, friends and others including Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee ( D-TX ). [ 3 ] Eric Zorn, writing for the Chicago Tribune, criticized Encinia for his treat of the traffic arrest, calling him a “ fiddling tyrant ” and referring to his “ Are you done ? ” as “ snippy condescension companion to anyone experienced in the quibble arts ”. however, he besides said Bland was unnecessarily argumentative, write : “ [ Y ] ou must always defer humbly to the police. even when they ‘re acting like bullies, goading you or issuing you absurd orders like to put out your cigarette as you sit in your own car, do n’t challenge their authority. … Comply. And if you feel your rights are being violated, take it up former with a estimate. ” [ 53 ] On August 13, about 25 heavily arm members of the New Black Panther Party rallied at a Texas jail to protest Bland ‘s end and expressed their fad at police. No arrests were made. [ 54 ] In former August, the Prairie View City Council renamed part of University Drive as Sandra Bland Parkway. [ 55 ] Bland ‘s beget, Geneva Reed-Veal, spoke about Bland at the 2016 democratic National Convention. [ 56 ] On January 21, 2017, at the Women ‘s March on Washington, singer and actress Janelle Monáe included Sandra Bland in her operation, evoking the consultation to “ Say [ Bland ‘s ] name ! ” in addition to giving the Mothers of the Movement the microphone, including Bland ‘s mother, to each say the appoint of their lost son or daughter. [ 57 ]

official reply and investigation [edit ]

The FBI and DPS announced on July 16 that they had launched an probe into Bland ‘s death. Encinia was placed on administrative duties for violating procedures for dealings stops, [ 5 ] [ 18 ] and was terminated by DPS following his indictment on perjury charges. [ 58 ] Waller County Sheriff R. Glenn Smith, who runs the imprison in which Bland died, has been placed in charge of Waller County ‘s probe into her death. [ 46 ] Smith was suspended and fired from his former military post as head of police of Hempstead after alleged incidents of racism and brutality. [ 59 ] [ 60 ]

policy violations at imprison [edit ]

According to CNN, a report from the Texas Commission on Jail Standards, published on July 16, found that Waller County imprison “ guards violated policies by failing to do seasonably checks on inmates ”, which should be hourly. [ 8 ] The report besides stated that jail employees had not been adequately train to deal with mental health problems. [ 8 ] The staff had not wholly undergone the minimum of two hours of mental health train required by the country. [ 61 ] On July 22, county officials produced intake forms that they say indicate Bland had earlier attempted suicide. [ 34 ] One questionnaire states that Bland took pills in 2015 after having a spontaneous abortion. [ 62 ] Another form filed by a different jail employee says Bland attempted suicide earlier, in 2014. One form indicates Bland had contemplated suicide within the past year, while another says she did not. [ 34 ] After a white male prisoner hanged himself with a bedsheet in 2012, Texas state inspectors had besides cited adjective failings by Waller County Jail ‘s staff. [ 63 ] R. Glenn Smith, the Waller County sheriff, stated that the jail staff may face disciplinary actions for their failures of not putting Bland on a suicide watch, not personally checking on her, and leaving the credit card base that was fashioned into a noose. He said the actions “ could range from suspensions to transfers to terminations ”. [ 61 ] An inspection in 2018, respective years after Bland ‘s death, showed that the Waller County imprison was again not monitoring inmates correctly. All inmates were supposed to be monitored face-to-face at least hourly, jail staff exceeded that by two and a half hours. Certain inmates, including those who are assaultive or potentially self-destructive, should be monitored every half-hour. That limit was exceeded by 74 minutes. [ 64 ]

far reactions [edit ]

In August 2015, Prairie View City Council voted to rename the street Sandra was arrested on to “ Sandra Bland Parkway. ” [ 65 ] In March 2016, documents obtained from the forensic lab that performed Bland ‘s autopsy suggested that the time of death was not that which was primitively reported by official investigations and that this could raise questions about the robustness of the master probe. A report by the Harris County forensic research worker contradicted the official report of the Waller County Sheriff ‘s Department about details of the condition of the consistency. In accession, the documents stating the time guards last observe Bland alive in her cell did not agree with the security system television footage from the jail where Bland was detained, leaving a discrepancy of an hour. Brandon Wood, director of the Texas Commission on Jail Standards, said that the failure to observe inmates hourly as required by standards “ could be criminal in nature. ” An lawyer for the Bland family said that it might be fair a clerical error, or might be something “ more nefarious. ” [ 66 ] Bland ‘s mother Geneva Reed-Veal is a member of the Mothers of the Movement, bringing attention to police reform, Bland ‘s report and the grief summons of losing a child. [ 67 ] [ 68 ] The events surrounding Bland ‘s death kind the basis for much of Malcolm Gladwell ‘s one-sixth record Talking to Strangers. [ 69 ] Sandra Bland ‘s lawsuit returned to the populace ‘s care in 2019 when her cell earphone video became public for the inaugural time. [ 13 ] Her class ‘s lawyer said the lawsuit needed to be reopened in light of the fresh evidence. [ 12 ]

legal proceedings [edit ]

Investigation into end and charges against Encinia [edit ]

In December 2015, a county expansive jury declined to issue an indictment in association to Bland ‘s death. A special prosecutor said that “ the case is silent receptive ”, and that the exalted jury would meet again in January 2016 to discuss early aspects. [ 70 ] Those aspects were wide assumed to include Encinia ‘s actions during the traffic stop, and Bland ‘s family urged prosecutors to pursue criminal charges against him. [ 71 ] Reconvening the following month, the grand jury indicted Encinia for perjury, a class A misdemeanor with a potential punishment of one class in jail and a $ 4,000 very well. The charge resulted from his affirmation in an affidavit that his reason for removing Bland from her car was “ to further conduct a safe dealings probe ”. The distinguished jury found that statement to be false, according to a particular prosecutor. Hours after the indictment was announced, DPS said they had begun the serve to terminate Encinia ‘s employment as a state trooper. [ 72 ] After an halt warrant was issued, Encinia surrendered at the Waller County Jail and was released after posting a $ 2,500 bind. His lawyer said that he would appeal his ending, while Bland ‘s family called for more good condemnable charges including battery and fake catch. [ 73 ] On June 28, 2017, a evaluate granted a gesticulate by prosecutors to dismiss the perjury charge against Encinia. In tax return, Encinia agreed that he would “ never seek, accept or engage in employment in any capacity with law enforcement ” [ 74 ] in Texas or elsewhere. [ 75 ] He besides agreed not to seek expungement of the perjury charge. [ 74 ]

wrongful death lawsuit [edit ]

Bland ‘s syndicate filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit, and a jury trial in that lawsuit was scheduled for January 2017. The family sought unspecified damages from DPS, Encinia, Waller County, and two jailers. [ 70 ] [ 76 ] In September 2016, Bland ‘s family settled the lawsuit for $ 1.9 million, according to her mother. Details remained to be worked out and the agreement hush awaited court approval. [ 77 ]

Sandra Bland Act [edit ]

Texas Senate Bill 1849, besides known as the Sandra Bland Act, went into effect on September 1, 2017, and mandated change to corrections and patrol policy when dealing with those with kernel maltreatment or mental health concerns. S.B. 1849 “ requires de-escalation prepare for police officers and mandates county jails amuse people with mental health and substance pervert issues toward treatment, makes it easier for defendants to receive a personal bind if they have a genial illness or intellectual disability, and requires that independent law enforcement agencies investigate imprison deaths ”. [ 78 ] Police officers are required to complete comprehensive racial profiling educate and forty hours of de-escalation discipline. Law enforcement agencies will maintain records documenting race or ethnicity of all persons detained and whether the officer knew the individual ‘s rush or ethnicity prior to being detained. In summation, police officers will undergo coach to limit uses of push. All law enforcement agencies are required to provide education to the populace concern ailment procedures. [ 79 ] County jails are required to collect information used to make a decision of mental illness or intellectual disability. A written assessment of collected data will be submitted to a magistrate and mental health technical if a electric potential meaning abuse, mental illness or intellectual disability exists. If want arises and is fair, pending charges may be suspended and an individual may be diverted to a treatment adeptness. In the event of a death in hands, the custodial representation will begin an investigation until a spokesperson of an outside agency is on scene. In addition, electronic monitor will be in place to ensure timely security checks for the social welfare of those incarcerated. [ 79 ]

Tributes [edit ]

On September 8, 2015, at the Library of Congress, the just-inducted United States Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, the Chicago – mexican son ring Sones de Mexico, and their songwriting class, cowrote the ballad “ Corrida de Sandra Bland “, in spanish. Sones de Mexico performed the song the following day. [ 80 ] In 2018, filmmakers Kate Davis and David Heilbroner released the HBO documentary film Say Her Name: The Life and Death of Sandra Bland. [ 81 ] Say Her Name is besides the title of a paint by the artist Jennifer Packer created in response to Bland ‘s death. [ 82 ]

See besides [edit ]

References [edit ]

Waller County Jail video [edit ]

Waller County Jail surveillance-camera video at YouTube, no audio, dates/times unknown, not necessarily in right sequence

  • Sally Port (1:10) Arriving at the jail
  • Intake (13:06) Handcuffs removed, Encinia, pat-down, paperwork
  • Booking Room (7:50) Change to orange
  • Inprocessing (24:16) Mug shot, filling out forms, phone calls, fingerprinting
  • Magistration (1:07:12) Magistration of Bland and others, phone calls
  • Cell Assignment (28:03) Bland from 15:50, moved to cell from 25:00
  • Hallway (1:07:50) Seated outside the cells, speaking to jail personnel
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