No indictments in Sandra Bland inquiry

 

After eight hours of weighing evidence, a Texas grand jury has declined to indict Waller County sheriff deputies or jail staff in the death of Sandra Bland, an Illinois woman who died while in Waller County custody.

Bland’s death on July 13 was ruled a suicide.

Despite concluding jail staff committed no felony, the grand jury will continue to deliberate whether State Trooper Brian Encinia, who arrested Bland, will face charges.

The grand jury will convene again in early January to ponder an indictment against Encinia.

Encinia has been placed on administrative duty since the July 10 arrest for allegedly violating police regulations while arresting Bland.

Declaring Texas’ grand jury system “flawed,” and demanding the testimony be made public, the Bland family rejected the refusal to indict.

“Right now, the biggest problem for me is the entire process. I simply can’t have faith in a system that’s not inclusive of my family that’s supposed to have the investigation,” said Geneva Reed-Veal, Bland’s mother.

Bland was pulled over on for failing to signal during an attempt to change lanes on a Prairie View, Texas street on July 10, 2015.

Police dash-cam video revealed the routine traffic stop quickly went awry with Bland refusing to put out a cigarette and refusing to follow lawful commands to exit the car.

Once she exited the car, both Encinia and Bland disappeared off the camera and an argument ensued over Bland’s refusal to put her cell phone away.

Bland was arrested, charged with resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer.

Analysis

Bland should have never seen a day in jail over a simple traffic violation.

Police dash-cam video clearly illustrates Ms. Bland refused a lawful command from Officer Encinia, but his re-action, or one could conclude his overreaction more appropriate, triggered an unnecessary arrest.

Ms. Bland’s refusal to extinguish her cigarette should have never caused Encinia to engage in the manner he did; however, had Ms. Bland simply complied with a relatively easy and lawful command, she would have completed her journey to Texas and returned home to Illinois without incident.

While this individual matter does not require the reconciliation of vastly differing accounts due to the existence of police dash-cam video, a wide variety of conspiracy theories, claims of racism and profiling have emerged, all unsubstantiated, and  there exists no evidence race played any role in the arrest, detainment or death of Sandra Bland.

Much could have been done to prevent Ms. Bland from meeting her fate: For Officer Encinia, part of his role as a member of law enforcement includes occasionally tolerating verbal abuse from individuals and the vilification of a portion of the public. 

For Ms. Bland, she could have obeyed the lawful command issued by Officer Encinia whether she agreed with it or not.

We will now await the grand jury’s decision on Officer Encinia.

 

[RT News] [Photo courtesy BBC]

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