Late Monday night, a grand jury in Texas declined to indict anyone involved in the death of Sandra Bland, one of a string of cases involving police incompetence and brutality against African Americans.
Bland was pulled over in July for failing to turn on her indicator—her fierce encounter with officer Brian Encinia escalated to the point of her arrest, all captured on Encinia’s dashcam. Bland was then shockingly found hanging from a plastic trash bag in her jail cell, and her death ruled a suicide.
Many individuals were skeptical of her treatment in police custody, particularly considering the violent nature of her arrest for such a minor driving infraction, hoping justice would be served through an independent investigation and Texas’s grand jury. No such luck—the grand jury held neither the officer nor anyone from the Waller County jail accountable.
This has, understandably, incited enormous outrage and anger, particularly as we still wait for news about the Freddie Gray case, among a slew of other incidents involving police officers and African Americans that have resulted in no punishment for officers.
The hashtag #SayHerName has surfaced, conveying disillusionment with both our justice system and the systemic police brutality that continues to occur.
Even Democratic candidates such as Bernie Sanders weighed in, bluntly declaring that, “Sandra Bland should not have died while in police custody. There is no doubt in my mind that she, like too many African-Americans who die in police custody, would be alive today if she were a white woman," while Martin O'Malley stressed that hashtags are not enough to combat the root of the issue.
Statement on grand jury decision in Sandra Bland case: pic.twitter.com/r1oFu9MHWc— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) December 22, 2015
Banner Image Credit: Twitter, @jamaiya_miller