Sandra Bland. Every time I think of the case of Sandra Bland I have to take a moment and inhale the anger that comes up. This entire situation is despicable and the actions which have followed have continued to be so. Another case of a Black life being taken with no person held accountable for it.
The official statement is suicide and yet from the very beginning this whole situation has been mishandled by police. The fact of the matter is that Brian Encina should never have pulled Sandra Bland from that car and placed her under arrest. Some will excuse his behavior by saying that she did not follow his lawful order. A lawful order is not whatever comes out of a police officer’s mouth. A lawful order is in accordance with the law, which Encina was not when he first told her to put out her cigarette, then forced her from her vehicle by threatening to “light her ass up”. He was not acting under the law. He was acting as someone who felt his power being questioned and decided to show that he was the boss. This problem has shown up across the country when officers have been dealing with Black people.
Sandra Bland should be alive right now. She should be starting her job at Prairie A&M University. Instead she is dead. They keep saying suicide, but so many things do not add up. The inconsistencies and misconduct are so much that it is hard to believe anything that comes from the Waller County police. Especially since they see absolutely nothing unlawful about Encina’s conduct. Clearly they have a skewed view. We cannot continue to allow law enforcement to police themselves. At all other levels, there is a system of checks and balances. Can you imagine if Congress only answered to itself? Or the President? That’s called tyranny, not democracy, and we cannot continue to ignore that the state of policing in regards to Black people has nothing to do with the law and everything to do with us into shutting up and doing what we’re told, lawful or not.
Sandra Bland was an educated Black woman, member of Sigma Gamma Rho sorority and a dedicated Christian. She was fully aware of her rights. She knew very well that Encina was wrong and she was not quiet about it. She was clearly looking forward to taking Encina to court to fight the charges. What could have happened between her arrest and her sitting in prison that would have caused her suicide? Particularly considering that she told her sister that she felt that her shoulder was broken. How does one who feels that they have a broken shoulder hang themselves with a flimsy garbage bag that shouldn’t have even been in the cell to begin with? This whole thing reeks of wrongdoing and I will not be satisfied until those within the Waller County jail system are held accountable for misconduct and evidence tampering. There is no way that things happened the way they say they did and any manipulation of the truth is a clear indication that something terrible took place in that jail.
Now Sandra Bland’s family and friends have had to lay her to rest. A spirited young woman who was clearly on a mission for justice, it can clearly be seen through her Sandra Speaks video series that she was set on making sure that change happened. Unfortunately, it will now simply have to happen in her name and she will not be here to see it. As if the whole situation isn’t bad enough, the media continues to slander Black people after they have died. We continue to see why Black Lives Matter is such an important movement. Because by looking at mainstream media it would appear that police image matters so much more. To add insult to injury, Instagram has wiped the #SandraBland hashtag. The continued erasure of real issues in the Black community and each step of the way we are told that racism is no more.
Even while Black people continue to be preyed on for our race and trolls on social media spew their ignorance. Rest in peace Sandra! Once again we must fight to add value to a Black life and show that policing in this country is out of control. Until Black people’s rights to due process, a fair trial, and against cruel and unusual punishment is upheld, we cannot say that Black Lives Matter. That is Black Lives Matter, not Only Black Lives Matter, not nobody else’s lives matter, but Black Lives Matter, because the state of this country does not appear to believe so. We can’t even express sorrow and outrage without being held responsible for white feelings.
Rest in peace also to the many numbers of Native Americans that are being killed by police, as well as Kindra Chapman, another young black woman who died in a jail cell and has been claimed a suicide. We have to keep pushing for accountability and work to change the current state of policing in this country. Please look into Sandra Bland’s story and understand why we are so outraged.