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Jail where Sandra Bland died “seriously deficient” and “dehumanized inmates”

April 13, 2016

According to a new report, the Texas jail where Sandra Bland was found dead — three days after being arrested over a routine traffic stop that escalated — showed serious deficiencies, and its staff “persisted in name-calling and dehumanization towards some suspects.” While the official story is that Bland hanged herself after being arrested over a confrontation with a state trooper, this version of events is disputed by her family and activists, and her death has become a symbol of police brutality for the Black Lives Matter movement. A five-person committee, assembled after Bland’s death to look into the sheriff’s office operations, released their report on Tuesday, calling for a new jail and making nine recommendations that include having medical professionals screen inmates for health problems, purchasing body cameras and anger management and psychological evaluations for deputies, among other things. “Many officers ‘bottle up’… stress, and when coupled with personal stressors this presents the risk that the stress will explode to the surface at the worst possible times and in the worst possible ways,” the report states.

Waller County Sheriff Glenn Smith said he agreed with “99 percent” of the report, and claimed that building a new facility would depend on county funds, but adding that the county had applied for grants for body cameras and would be starting a “mandatory de-escalation training” in June. Activists, however, continue to call for Smith’s resignation and are skeptical for any improvements to come from this report. “Not one thing has changed [since Bland’s death],” family friend LaVaughn Moseley told the Guardian. “Always all talk and no action, that’s Waller County. This is all for show.”

Read the full story at The Guardian.


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