sandra bland

By now you’ve heard about the death of Sandra Bland, the 28-year-old woman who died while in custody at the Waller County jail. According to her family, Bland had everything to live for—a move, a new job, a fresh start. But somehow, the Prairie View A&M grad, who was outspoken about the plight of Black folks, ended up dead in a Texas jail cell.

This week, after Bland’s story became national news due to the conversations on Black Twitter, the Waller County D.A. announced his office was would investigate her death as a murder, despite city officials classifying it as a suicide.

What actually happened to Bland in that jail cell is unclear, but we know how she got there.

Tuesday, Waller County officials released dashcam video of Bland’s arrest. In the video, the officer seems agitated Bland refused to put out her cigarette during the traffic stop, and things quickly escalated from there.

After pulling his taser and threatening to “light her up,” Bland finally gets out of her vehicle and is forced to the ground and taken into custody. After the encounter, she called her sister to say she thought her arm was broken.

Two days later she was dead.

Sandra Bland didn’t have to die. The officer, who has been pulled from duty, could have made better decisions throughout their encounter. Instead of yelling and threatening Bland with violence, the trooper could have given her a ticket for failing to use her signal and moved on.

But he didn’t, and Bland is dead. And this sobering picture explains how driving while Black, or shopping while Black, or playing in the park while Black, or attending a pool party while Black, or daring to speak your mind while Black can get you killed.

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  • Mary Burrell

    Yep, being in a black body in America can be deadly

  • Rizzo

    trying to make room for those dreamers — they are our future

  • CoolChic

    I’m glad black twitter kept Sandra Bland at the forefront of the news.

  • ctrldwn

    If someone breaks a traffic law, you cite them and let them go on their way. Sounds simple right? Nope. Not in America. Some of these officers feel they MUST escalate every single interaction with black people. It’s not just a few bad apples. It’s a culture within these departments that has normalize this. Some people will admit to a culture of nihilism within our youth so why is it difficult for them to admit there is a nihilistic culture in these police departments?

  • Timelost1

    I have got a funny driving while black story for you and in this case no infraction.
    I say funny but I now realize it could have been tragic.
    Was in a convertible with a friend in maimi actually near the university of maimi
    Got pulled over by an undercover car. So I pulled in to a gas station. I told my frien to put his hands in the air and so did I. The officer approached and asked for my license while keeping my left hand in the air i took to finger and pulled my wallet on to the dashboard and with one hand opened it up and gave my license to the officer.
    He went back to his car and we were still there with both of our hands in the air. In the mean time a crowd was gathering on the other side of the street .
    The officer came back had no priors nothing . He said we could go I asked why we where stopped. He said there was a robbery a few blocks away and that we fit the description so asked how tall was the suspect he said 5’6″ my friend and I had our hands up during the whole exchange.
    He then said you do not have to be afraid and keep your hands up. I said I was not afraid that they were up because I did not want him not to feel threatened.
    At that point he got pissed and told me to step out of the car. I asked him to step back a bit he shouted get out of the car. I asked him to step back again.
    He yelled Get out of the car if not I will arrest you. So I opened the door and stepped out and since he would not step back he ended up with his nose an inch from my chest level with my heart. I was a foot and some taller than him.
    The crowd burst into laughter. He asked me what i was doing in Maimi I said vacationing and he left. If it was this trooper I am sure he would have shot me and accused me of attacking him.