Activists say death of Sandra Bland, who died in a Texas jail cell days after being arrested, shed light on how police deal with minorities
The protests sparked by the death of Sandra Bland after she was arrested for allegedly assaulting a state trooper in Texas have renewed attention on police brutality.
The 28-year-old Bland was found hanged in her cell three days after she was taken into custody following a traffic stop, sparking allegations that she was murdered.
A newly reported CNN investigation sheds further light on the damning story. According to law enforcement records obtained by the CNN affiliate in Texas, police violated procedures, policies and was unable to explain why the lieutenant in charge of the scene of Bland’s arrest did not try to save her life immediately after she was found dead.
An expert in suicide studies told CNN that such failures in care make a potential homicide case strong against the arresting officer.
“In this instance the police were clearly at fault, they could have had no knowledge of the suicide and went about arresting Ms Bland using tactics that would have led to her death,” said Dr Steven Gaines, an associate professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
After police pulled Bland over on 6 July for failing to signal a lane change, they asked her to get out of the car. She began shouting and threatening to sue. She then kicked the officer who had arrived to take her into custody.
In the arrest video, which does not show the fatal encounter, Bland is heard saying: “I am not going to stand for you all brutalizing me. I am not going to put up with it. I am asking you to leave me alone.”
The Texas Ranger was initially dispatched to the scene, but the trooper also responded. A Texas state trooper reportedly explained to the Twitterverse that the officer was not assigned to the scene because she was the only police officer.
In the official police report, there are no comments from the trooper and no timeline for the response from the attorney general’s office. Both investigations are ongoing.
Many of the officers involved in the arrest have since been put on administrative leave.