Sandra Bland | KERA News

Sandra Bland

Miguel Gutierrez Jr for KUT News

The 85th Texas Legislature is over. And while the threat of a special session looms, most of us are still trying to figure out what actually made it across the finish line.

'Sandra Bland Act' Doesn't Address Cause Of Her Arrest, Family Says

May 15, 2017
Kee Creation / Texas Tribune

The family of Sandra Bland on Saturday called a bill in her honor a "missed opportunity," after lawmakers whittled down the criminal justice reform bill to legislation focusing mostly on mental health issues and county jail operations. The Texas Senate unanimously passed the bill Thursday.

Texas Lawmakers Send Sandra Bland Act For Full Vote In The Senate

May 3, 2017

State lawmakers are sending the Sandra Bland Act for a full vote in the Senate. The bill is named after a black woman who died in police custody in Waller County in 2015.

Brandon Wade / Fort Worth Star-Telegram

There’s not much Republicans and Democrats seem to agree on in Austin these days, but criminal justice reform is one area that has found bipartisan support over the past decade. 

Sandra Bland Act Would Change Processes For Law Enforcement, Jails

Mar 3, 2017

State Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, on Thursday filed House Bill 2702, dubbed the Sandra Bland Act.

Texas House Committee Report Lays Foundation For 'Sandra Bland Act'

Feb 3, 2017

Fourteen recommendations in the Texas House County Affairs Committee's recent report to lawmakers – including calls for them to increase police officer training for de-escalation and mental health awareness, to back jail-to-treatment diversion programs, and eliminate consent searches during stops – will be the foundation for the Sandra Bland Act.

Texas Senator Wants Teens To Learn What To Do During Police Stops

Oct 4, 2016
Otis Blank / The Texas Tribune

"Comply, then complain" and similar phrases could become all too familiar to Texas' newest drivers, as lawmakers work this week to push two solutions to the rift between law enforcement officers and the communities they serve.

Hearings Will Address Criminal Justice Reforms in Sandra Bland's Name

Sep 20, 2016
Erika Rich for The Texas Tribune

In another early legislative step toward fashioning reforms in the aftermath of Sandra Bland's 2015 suicide in the Waller County Jail, the Texas House Committee on County Affairs will meet on Tuesday to discuss improving local jail policies and modifying law enforcement training.

Sandra Bland's Family Settles Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Sep 15, 2016

The family of Sandra Bland — who died last year in a Waller County Jail cell — has reached a settlement with Texas officials in a wrongful death lawsuit, a lawyer for the family said Thursday.

Committee Calls For Big Changes At Texas Jail Where Sandra Bland Died

Apr 12, 2016
Callie Richmond / Texas Tribune

HEMPSTEAD – Waller County needs a new jail, local officers need body cameras to record their activities and the sheriff's office needs to promote civility, a study committee formed after the death of Sandra Bland said Tuesday.

Brian Encinia, the former Texas trooper who arrested Sandra Band in July 2015, has pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of perjury stemming from the arrest.

Encinia, who was fired after he was indicted earlier this year, entered his plea Tuesday night. Protesters gathered outside the courthouse yelling, "Tell the truth," The Associated Press reports.

Sandra Bland Escalation Is Trooper's Fault, Texas DPS Director Says

Jan 19, 2016
Shelby Knowles / Texas Tribune

When asked Tuesday whether Sandra Bland was at all to blame for a heated exchange with a state trooper during a traffic stop last year, Texas Department of Public Safety director Steve McCraw said officers are responsible for escalations.

Grand Jury Indicts Trooper In Sandra Bland Case

Jan 6, 2016
Texas Department of Public Safety

Waller County grand jurors indicted Department of Public Safety trooper Brian Encinia on a single charge of perjury Wednesday because they did not believe he was telling the truth about his actions during the arrest of Sandra Bland, special prosecutor Darrell Jordan confirmed.

Grand Jury To Reconvene Over Sandra Bland Case

Jan 6, 2016
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A Waller County grand jury will meet again Wednesday to continue considering charges in connection with the arrest and death of Sandra Bland.

From Texas Standard:

In a highly anticipated decision earlier this week, the grand jury refused to issue any indictments related to the death of Sandra Bland.

Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old black woman, was arrested and charged with assaulting a public servant on July 10 in Prairie View, Texas. She had allegedly failed to use her turn signal while changing lanes and was pulled over. After her arrest, she went through intake and was booked into Waller County jail. Three days later she was found dead in her jail cell.

 


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Five stories that have North Texas talking: no indictments in Sandra Bland jail death; Dallas mayor welcomes refugees; a fundraiser for Bernie Tiede; and more.

Callie Richmond

In the wake of the hanging death of Sandra Bland and other recent suicides, the state agency that oversees jails is issuing a new inmate intake form so jailers will ask more specific, direct questions when booking people.

Texas Lawmakers Zero In On Jail Standards, Mental Health

Sep 22, 2015
Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Texas Tribune

To the better-known name of Sandra Bland — whose death by apparent suicide in the Waller County Jail this summer sparked national outrage — state Sen. John Whitmire on Tuesday linked three others:

From Texas Standard:

The highly publicized shootings of Michael BrownSam Dubose and several other African-American men has shined a spotlight on how the criminal justice system interacts with men of color. But with Sandra Bland’s recent death in the Waller County Jail, some are now asking how that same justice system treats women of color.

On the cover of the largest African-American-owned paper in the City of Houston — The Houston Forward Times — the headline reads, “The New ‘Jane’ Crow: Black Women Are The Target For Mass Incarceration.” Jeffrey Boney is the author of that article, and he lays out some pretty staggering statistics on African-American women being involved with the criminal justice system:

  • 1 in 100 African American women are in prison.
  • African-American women are seven times more likely to be incarcerated than White women.

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The family of a black motorist who died while in custody says they've filed a lawsuit against a Texas sheriff's office and others because they still haven't received enough answers from authorities.

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Texas and America are wrestling with the relationship between African Americans and police.

In Austin Thursday, legislators gathered for a hearing focused on Sandra Bland’s death, which has become a national flash point in the discussion about race. 

From Texas Standard:

On July 10, 28-year-old Sandra Bland was arrested and charged with assaulting a public servant. She was taken to the Waller County Jail; three days later, she was found in her cell dead from what officials called suicide. Both the FBI and the Texas Rangers launched investigations trying to find out what happened.

Dashboard camera footage from Bland’s traffic stop was released on Tuesday.  (Note: The video was uploaded to YouTube Tuesday evening; it has since been taken down, after people pointed out errors and inconsistencies in the video, which led many to believe it had been edited. A DPS spokesman denied editing the video, and re-uploaded the footage without errors or omissions this afternoon.)

Texas Department of Public Safety

The Texas Department of Public Safety has rebuffed suggestions that the dashboard camera video of a young African American woman who later died in police custody was doctored. 

Sandra Bland Was Combative During Traffic Stop, Arrest Report Says

Jul 21, 2015
Callie Richmond / Texas Tribune

PRAIRIE VIEW — The Texas Department of Public Safety trooper who arrested Sandra Bland said she became “combative” with him after he pulled her over for an improper lane change, according to the arrest report released Tuesday.

The death of a woman, who was found hanged in a Texas jail, will be investigated as a murder, Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said during a press conference on Monday.

As NPR's Martin Kaste reported, this all started when an officer stopped Sandra Bland for allegedly failing to signal a lane change. The traffic stop escalated and after a struggle, which was filmed, Bland was arrested and charged with assaulting a public servant.

Sandra Bland Mourned From Illinois To Texas

Jul 20, 2015
Callie Richmond / Texas Tribune

LISLE, Ill. — Sandra Bland began her Facebook videos by greeting viewers as "kings and queens." Those close to her believe she truly meant it.

Laura Buckman / The Texas Tribune

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders made a campaign stop in Dallas on Sunday. That followed his appearance at an event in Arizona, where he was interrupted and heckled at the Netroots Nation conference.

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A black woman who authorities say hanged herself in a Texas jail had posted an online video earlier this year saying she was suffering from "a little bit of depression," though family and friends say the 28-year-old gave no indication she was distraught enough to contemplate suicide.