Friday, July 24, 2015

The Sandra Bland Case in Texas

On July 10, Sandra Bland was arrested during a traffic stop in Waller County, Texas. Three days later, she was found hanging in her jail cell. The initial police report indicated suicide and that she had hanged herself using a plastic liner from a trash can.

The arrest was captured on camera. Jail cameras also recorded the activity in the police station outside of her cell.

Since Bland was African-American and the arresting officer was white, this case has now taken on the character of previous cases involving Eric Garner, Michael Brown and Freddy Gray. Tow things have been called into question: The initial arrest and the circumstances of Bland's death.

Not surprisingly, Al Sharpton is running with this case on his Politics Nation show calling into question whether Bland's death was really a suicide. On July 23, Hillary Clinton spoke in front of a predominantly black audience in South Carolina and referred to Bland as another example of why black lives matter using the popular expression of the day.

Trooper Brian Encinia's dashcam video of the arrest of Sandra Bland.

The below video from another camera has additional footage of Bland being subdued on the side of the road.

The same day as Ms. Clinton was invoking the death of Bland, the coroner's autopsy report ruled Bland's strangulation ligatures consistent with a suicide.

This investigation is still on-going, but at this point, it does appear to be a suicide. If Bland was the victim of foul play, an entire police station would have to have been complicit. That defies reason.

As far as the arrest itself is concerned, while I think the officer could have better de-escalated the situation, it shows once again why it is better to follow the commands and complain later. Bland was argumentative and non-compliant. The result is a tragedy.

In the meantime, it would behoove Hillary Clinton, Al Sharpton and others to reserve judgment.


elwood p suggins said...

The jailers decided to hang her with a trash bag?? Not hardly.

And speaking of Hillary, I am still looking for more on it, but she was quoted the other day as saying something to the effect that black guys in hoodies were scary or worrisome. Kind of like Juan Williams and young Muslim males, but he got hammered for it. She won't.

elwood p suggins said...

The quote from a campaign speech on 07/23/15 was “I mean if we’re honest, for a lot of well-meaning, open-minded white people, the sight of a young black man in a hoodie still evokes a twinge of fear".

Although quite true, can you imagine a Republican candidate saying this same thing without becoming immediate toast??

Siarlys Jenkins said...

It defies reason that a healthy young woman starting a new job would hang herself over a traffic stop, no matter how much it escalated.

And while it is good advice to go along to get along and complain later... that does not exonerate the officer, who ought to be fired.

There is no evidence to charge anyone with homicide. But I will be very interested in the Justice Department review of the video tapes to see if they are authentic. Most of us couldn't tell if they simply substituted last week's tape.