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Death in custody

No indictment over death of Sandra Bland, grand jury decides

December 22, 2015

A grand jury decided on Monday not to indict the sheriff’s office or jailers for the death of Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old black woman who was found dead in a Texas jail cell three days after being pulled over for a minor traffic violation. Nevertheless, prosecutor Darrell Jorden said the grand jury had not yet reached a decision on whether the trooper who arrested Bland should face charges, and will return in January to consider that. Bland had been pulled over for an improper lane change by a Texas state trooper, and was arrested for assault when she became confrontational. She was taken to the county jail in Hempstead and forced to remain there as she could not post the $500 bail. Her death in the jail cell three days later was ruled a suicide by the medical examiner, but Bland’s relatives dispute this report. To dispel rumors that she had been killed in custody or was already dead when she arrived to the jail, county authorities released video footage from the jail.

The family says they have no faith in the grand jury, as they have been frustrated by delays in the investigation and believe authorities have been trying to cover up what happened after her arrest. Bland’s mother has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the trooper, the Texas Department of Public Safety, Waller County and two jail employees. Bland’s death was one of several high-profile cases of African Americans dying at the hands of police or while in custody, and her cause was taken up by the Black Lives Matter movement.

Read the full story at The Guardian.


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