The Death of Sandra Bland – Was It Suicide?

Sandra_BlandTen days ago, Sandra Bland was found dead in a jail cell in Waller County Texas. Officials claimed that Ms. Bland had hanged herself, but the circumstances of her arrest have drawn criticism. She had been pulled over on July 10 for a traffic violation.

Police claim that Ms. Bland assaulted the officer who pulled her over. But video footage of the arrest and her death have led to investigation and the officer was placed on administrative duties for failing to follow proper traffic stop procedures.

The New York Times reported yesterday that the release of the dashcam video “showed in excruciating detail how a routine traffic stop led to a shouting match and struggle between a state trooper and a woman, three days before she was found hanging in her jail cell.”

The video shows the officer pulling her over for a failure to signal a turn. To some this is already a red flag that the officer was attempting a pretext stop to investigate the driver rather than enforce the law.

However, the video shows their encounter escalating into a physical altercation in which he threatened her with a stun gun. “I will light you up,” the officer said as he pointed the stun gun at her.

The Times article notes, “The video also confirmed an account from the family’s lawyer that the confrontation between Ms. Bland and the trooper, Brian T. Encinia, escalated after she refused his order to put out a cigarette, Mr. West said. Neither the stun gun nor the confrontation over the cigarette was mentioned in Trooper Encinia’s incident report, which was also made public on Tuesday.”

The officer explained that she was being written up for failure to signal a lane change. “You seem very irritated,” he said. “I am, I really am,” she said. She said she had pulled over to get out of his way and was now getting stopped and written up because of it. “You mind putting out your cigarette?” he asked testily.

However, she refused to put out the cigarette arguing “I’m in my own car.” At this point he ordered her out of the car and she refused. He shouted, “I’m going to yank you out.” She exited the vehicle and shouted insults and obscenities as the officer put her in handcuffs.

Ms. Bland said, “You just slammed me, knocked my head into the ground.”

The Times reports, in an affidavit, that the officer “described Ms. Bland as ‘combative and uncooperative’ and said she had begun swinging at him with her elbows after she was removed from the car, handcuffed and forcibly subdued, according to his arrest report. ‘Bland was placed in handcuffs for officer safety,’ Trooper Encinia said in the arrest affidavit. ‘Bland began swinging her elbows at me and then kicked my right leg in the shin. I had a pain in my right leg and suffered small cuts on my right hand.’”

The Times reports, “The affidavit was released by the Waller County district attorney’s office, and the Department of Public Safety released the dashboard camera’s video of the arrest.”

The Atlantic reports that Ms. Bland got stopped for a traffic violation in the wrong place. The article published on Tuesday notes, “Waller County, Texas, has had a complicated racial history since the days when it was a part of Mexico. At one of its first settlements, Bernardo Plantation, about 100 slaves grew cotton on a large farm on the banks of the Brazos. Yet in the years before Texas fought Mexico for its independence, the area became a magnet for free blacks from elsewhere in the South who sought a welcoming home.”

It adds, “The messy, confusing double legacy of that history has persisted to the present, most recently embodied in the death of Sandra Bland in a Waller County jail cell.”

However, the information so far only describes a questionable stop, an unnecessary escalation on the part of both Ms. Bland and the officer, a scuffle and then the mystery of what happened in the jail.

As Radley Balko notes, jailhouse suicide is disturbingly common.

The Atlantic writes, “Regardless of the circumstances of Bland’s death, however, a routine stop for failing to use a blinker should not end in several days of imprisonment and death. That has brought a natural focus on Waller County and the figures involved.”

In some places traffic stops involving African-Americans are far out of proportion to their percentage of the population. The Atlantic reports, “That isn’t the case in Waller County. Statewide, stops and citations for black people in Texas are actually lower than their share of the overall population, and the same holds true for stops by the Waller County sheriff and police in the towns of Hempstead and Prairie View.”

However, they quickly add, “This might be one of the few areas where there isn’t evidence of racially disparate outcomes in Waller County, a place with a grim history of discrimination and tension—’racism from the cradle to the grave,’ as DeWayne Charleston, a former county judge, put it to The Guardian.”

So here we go again. Another mystery about another African-American who died while in custody.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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57 Comments

  1. Barack Palin

    I’ve been pulled over for not putting on my traffic signal and it didn’t escalate into something like this.  The difference, I listened to the officer and didn’t berate him.

     

    1. Napoleon Pig IV

      Would you have been so eager to merely listen had the officer treated you with aggressive disrespect as this particular one did to Ms. Bland? The video shows her doing nothing that any citizen with a spine should be afraid to do in the face of harrasment by an incompetent, bullying guy with a badge. Oink!

  2. Tia Will

    BP

    Kudos to you for your good behavior. The questions remain, did the officer have a legitimate reason for pulling her over ? Was it reasonable for the officer to question her demeanor before even informing her of his intent to issue a warning ? Did the officer use unreasonable threats or force to obtain compliance ?

    1. hpierce

      None of your questions go to the point… the REAL question is, why is this young woman dead?  The rest, in my mind, is ‘mental self-pleasuring’.  If you take the position that she is dead because she was pulled over, I’m not buying it.  Given the narrative, there must be something else going on.  I have no idea what, but it just doesn’t appear to be the ‘stop’, nor the arrest.

      If this young woman was still ‘among us’, and the topic is ‘police procedures’, maybe.  I heard, the situation(s) of her death [which is the only matter, IMO, is crucially important] is being investigated, by more than one agency, as a homocide.

      I see no “causation” between the video-cam footage and the young woman’s death.  Yes, the fact that she hung herself, or was murdered, IN JAIL, had the precursor event of the stop and the arrest.  Just not ‘causitive’.

      Like the young woman in SF… the CAUSE of her death was not immigration laws, SF ‘sanctuary city’ policy, etc.  The CAUSE of her death was a bad individual with a gun.

      “woulda, coulda, shoulda” often is BS.

       

      1. Tia Will

        None of your questions go to the point… the REAL question is, why is this young woman dead?

        Respectfully, at the time that these comments were written, the only available factual information was the videotape.

        I do not believe that there is only one “REAL” question here. I believe that there are many points in time at which a better outcome might have been obtainable.

        With this in mind, the only comments that could have been made without pure speculation were about the observed behaviors on that tape. I think that observations about the interaction during the stop, which were the predecessors of all that happened subsequently are the only points that justify comment at that point in time. Speculating on the causes of the death would have been the only items that would have been unfounded at that point in time. All of the questions I posed  about the appropriateness of the officer’s behavior were valid at the point written

  3. Anon

    I just saw the actual video of the stop this morning, and read about Bland’s past criminal history.  Bland was certainly no saint.

    Certainly the officer in question didn’t need to escalate matters by asking Bland why she was irritated.  I should think that was rather obvious, and actually Bland’s reason for not using her turn signal was reasonable – she was pulling over to get out of the way of the police car.  In such a circumstance I would have probably forgotten to put my turn signal on too.

    However, there is no question Bland became extremely belligerent, which was completely outrageous and unwise.  To some extent she brought the situation on herself.  However, police officers are supposed to be trained to properly deal with a hostile subject.  I am still left to wonder why the officer didn’t just tell Bland that he was only giving her a warning, as opposed to an actual ticket that would require a fine being paid.

    As to the suicide, it is possible Bland was so ashamed of her bad behavior in hindsight, that she chose to take her own life.  But of course there are other more sinister possibilities as well.  It does leave one to wonder.  Very tough real life situation, that was so completely pointless – the unnecessary escalation of a simple traffic stop and the ensuing suicide (if that is what it was).

    1. Davis Progressive

      there are several different things here.

      1.  did bland act appropriately?  clearly no.  she was agitated and let her emotions put her in a bad position.

      2. did the officer act appropriately?  no.  what was interesting was the video i saw where he let others off with a warning, but not bland.  bland didn’t seem agitated until he told her he was giving a ticket to her.  as you say and correctly so “police officers are supposed to be trained to properly deal with a hostile subject.”  he did not.  also wonder why he gave her the fine and let another off with a warning.

      3. the missing piece here is the suicide.  we just don’t know if it was her or the police.  the da is investigating it as a murder, but we’ll see.

    2. tj

      Criminal history???  She was a graduate of Texas A&M and worked at the University.

      She also knew her rights.

      The cop was doing what lots of cops do – issuing an illegal order to a citizen.

  4. Frankly

    Driving in poor and black neighborhoods I note a disproportionately high incidence of disregard for the laws and rules of traffic.  People speeding.  Not coming to a complete stop.  Not using turn signals.  Illegal passing.  Pedestrians jaywalking and walking in the street.  Bikes crossing in the middle of the street.

    My general sense is that that I am witnessing a common disdain and disrespect for laws.   It appears to be a cultural thing with blacks, because I don’t see many people of other races exhibiting the same behavior.

    This then gets me back to the victim mentality consideration.

    From Wikipedia:

    Victim mentality is an acquired (learned) personality trait in which a person tends to regard him or herself as a victim of the negative actions of others, and to think, speak and act as if that were the case — even in the absence of clear evidence. It depends on habitual thought processes and attribution.

    I think there is a material percentage of black over-representation of crime and punishment that is explained by this victim mentality.   The pervasive mindset is that cops and a lot of whites are race-biased and racist and this is the primary reason for the lack of over-representation in crime and punishment and under-representation in economic achievement.  Liberals reinforce that mindset by a projected victim mentality… that the outcome statistics only have one explanation… that racism is still rampant and blacks are still oppressed as if slavery just ended a few weeks ago.

    My kids would NEVER EVER THINK of getting into a shouting match with a cop.  Neither would I.  Neither would any of my family.  Neither would most living in Davis.

    Blacks seem to have that little voice that constantly reminds them that the cause of their bad encounters and negative consequence is rooted in racial bias against them.  Liberals tend to turn up the volume on that little voice.  And so then blacks, understandably, are more apt to loose their cool and act out in anger… and thus validate in their mind what the little voice was telling them.

    I keep repeating that one of the best things we can do if we really value black lives the way the Democrat political machine keeps repeating, we would add grade school curriculum to explain victim mentality, what good and bad morals are, and how to behave with encounters with law enforcement.

    1. hpierce

      “Driving in poor and black neighborhoods I note a disproportionately high incidence of disregard for the laws and rules of traffic.  People speeding.  Not coming to a complete stop.  Not using turn signals.  Illegal passing.  Pedestrians jaywalking and walking in the street.  Bikes crossing in the middle of the street.”

      Sounds like my experiences in Davis… yet, you put a spin (poor AND black) on it, that is a bit disturbing.

      To the topic, we know she was/is ‘black’ … have seen no evidence that she was poor.

      So, given the topic, do you think she “got what she deserved”, either at her own hand, or at the hand of another?  Or are you just using an opportunity to string words together, like’ Democrat political machine’, ‘black culture’ (really? you think that’s a single entity?), etc.?

        1. Davis Progressive

          for one thing, we are seeing a snap shot of one particular interaction – a lot of people have repeated interactions.  when the assistant police chief pytel talked about the acr process in the city, one of the points he made is sometimes when you review an incident your are viewing a single incident in a string of incidents and perhaps there is nothing unusual about that incident but if you go back in time, it provides context that this was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

          my daughter is mixed race and had friends who were both black and white and they had different experiences with the police.  the white kids very infrequently had contact and when they did they had positive ones.  the black kids, even the children of college professors, had more frequent and less positive interactions.  so when frankly whose family are police officers makes a statement like that, it’s not all that meaningful to me.

        2. Frankly

          the black kids, even the children of college professors, had more frequent and less positive interactions.

          Assessing if an interaction is positive or negative is of course subjective.  Someone can do a slow burn feeling like they are unfairly targeted, and others can just see it as being in the wrong place and the wrong time.

        3. Miwok

          Of course, the cigarette could have been lit to cover up  “other” smells in the car…

          One thing we learn as life goes by is the Cops are not amused by your lack of courtesy with them, or the “comedy comeback”.

          When she started talking to the officer, I immediately thought of the recent videos of traffic roadblocks “to search for impaired drivers” when the driver asserts his rights, and usually gets completely searched and abused by officers.

          If the officers like this one are common is this country at all levels, and the Management cannot review and control this we really need some reform about reviewing performance, but then so does most of the businesses in the world.

    2. jrberg

      “Driving in poor and black neighborhoods I note a disproportionately high incidence of disregard for the laws and rules of traffic.  People speeding.  Not coming to a complete stop.  Not using turn signals.  Illegal passing.  Pedestrians jaywalking and walking in the street.  Bikes crossing in the middle of the street.”

      I happened to be riding in a police car yesterday, in Davis, and observed every single one of these behaviors.  This was a marked car, which any of the perps could have easily seen.  I might note that ALL of the offenders were white or asian.  I guess so-called “conservatives” have a gift for seeing only what they want to see.

       

      1. jrberg

        One more thing – as a scientist, I’d like to see exactly what “disproportionately” means.  Are there quantitative studies on the differences, or was this just an anecdotal “fact” pulled out of ……somewhere.

         

      2. Frankly

        jberg, Davis isn’t a poor neighborhood and it certainly isn’t a black neighborhood.  And Davis is unique in that it is a college town with hyper-density and high traffic congestion.

        But I do get your point that there are other examples of places where people of races other than black demonstrate disrespect for traffic laws.

        Around 8 or 9 PM, go drive down Franklin Blvd in South Sacramento from Florin to Fruitridge and then come back up 24th Street.   Spend some time in that area driving around and you will experience what I am talking about.

        My suggestion here is that there is a greater demonstration of disrespect for the law in the black community.   I think DP makes the point that it is expected and justified due to the sort of “harassment” and profiling done by the cops.

        On the surface, this would seem to be the classic chicken and egg debate.  DP says that cops cause black anger and so their anger is justified.  I say that black subculture is inherently more disrespectful of the law and cops… and tends to even celebrate crime and immoral behavior (just listen to the popular black hip hop lyrics).  And so this results in more attention from the cops… and some of that becomes unfortunate and unneeded attention.

        But let’s say that DP is correct, and we just need to muzzle the police.  Tell them to reduce the frequency of stops and intensity in response that they demonstrate in the black community.

        My expectation is that crime will increase, and more cops will be killed and injured.  And then the cops will be vilified for not doing their job.   Oh wait… see Ferguson, New York and Baltimore…  already happened.

        1. Miwok

          Frankly, MY chicken and egg debate (with myself) is usually who are they are working for, as law enforcement officers.

          Lately the Feds are arguing against the State and County because if the locals try to “help” the Feds, they are told to stand down. In other places, the Feds are told to buzz off.

          I think when the law enforcement community enforces the law fairly and equitably, and manages their people without political agendas, or under orders from politicians, they might be more effective. But we have been seeing years of policy gone wrong, like Ferguson, and they hire morons who enforce someone’s agenda instead of the law.

          The Justice Department and the AG of California exemplify the “Appointee as Boss” enforcing laws they swore to enforce, except for “a few” instead of doing their job. They only want to look good instead of doing the hard work required of them. These people put their pension before their oath. Nice Legacy.

    3. Tia Will

      Frankly

      My kids would NEVER EVER THINK of getting into a shouting match with a cop.”

      I think that the key to your comment may lie in the words that you chose to print in bold “NEVER EVER THINK”. I think that this misses a central point of an emotionally escalating situation. Clearly neither the officer nor Ms. Bland were “thinking” clearly about the implications of their next statement. The whole interaction, on both sides, was about raw emotion. She appeared outraged at being stopped at all when from her point of view she had been trying to move out of his way. He appeared outraged that she was irritated by being pulled over and not obeying in the totally subservient manner he seemed to expect. Neither was calmly considering the impact that their next words would have on the other.

      My belief is that in this situation it is reasonable to assume that the individual stopped may not have had training in the management and deescalation of emotionally charged situations. It is unreasonable for the police officer to be patrolling unsupervised and not have completed and demonstrated competence in these skills that are critical in dealing with the public. The burden of situation management is on the police, not on the citizen being detained.

    4. Cecilia Escamilla-Greenwald

      Your comment is so over the top I didnt know If I should simply ignore it or respond. I strongly urge you to take a step back and re-read your comment. Do you not read a bias against Black people in your comment? Making such blanket statements about “driving through black neighborhoods” when we encounter the same situations in Davis.  Yes, every day I encounter: people not using their signal to change lanes, people on cell phones while driving, people speeding, people running stop signs. Oh no! Can you believe it happens in Davis? All over Davis. Yes, even Mace Ranch area. How is that for debunking your bias.?  I hope you were just trying to push buttons because your comments seriously show a bias.

      1. Frankly

        No racial bias at all.  It is all observation.  I have a nephew that lives in this area in Sacramento and I have had to transport him back and forth over several days a few weeks ago.  Please go experience this yourself before popping off with this type of accusatory response.   Yes Davis has a lot of bike riders ignoring the law, but not so many drivers and most are not doing the things I have witnessed.

        My observation was more a question than a accusation.  I probably could have worded it better.

        My sense from experience and all the stories and videos of police encounters is that within the poor black community there is a greater disrespect for the law and law enforcement than in other communities.  And then I mention the chicken and egg metaphor.  Some people want to claim that it is the cops and law enforcement causing this.  I’m in agreement that there is certainly a problem with lack of trust.  But I am suggesting that there is more lawlessness and disrespect for law enforcement embedded in the black urban culture, and this leads to more unwanted attention from the cops.  This story seems to reinforce this point as the woman was disrespectful and combative.   Yes, the officer did not conduct himself with a high level of professionalism, but then I would assume he would behave the same way with everyone he pulls over because it is in his nature.

        You can go all racial hyper-sensitive about this, but if you care about black lives like I do, you would open your mind to this being a possible contributing problem.  If there is something permeating the black urban culture that puts a chip on the shoulder of people for the law and law enforcement, it would tend to increase the probability that encounters with law enforcement will go badly.

        You can certainly demand that suspects can behave like jerks and cops just have to take it, but that isn’t how it works in the real world.   And again, if we are really interested in preventing death and not just backing an anti-cop agenda and crusade, we would be open to the consideration that teaching people to be respectful to law enforcement is a way to help prevent these types of tragedies.

        1. Don Shor

          Yes, the officer did not conduct himself with a high level of professionalism, but then I would assume he would behave the same way with everyone he pulls over because it is in his nature.

          Yes, he clearly should not be a police officer. And she clearly should not have been arrested. And she clearly should not have been in jail at all, much less for three days. As to her apparent or possible suicide, I have no idea. But the rest is very clear.

        2. hpierce

          Ok Don, you realize two of those three days were a Saturday and a Sunday, in a relatively small town, right?

          Not disputing the other points, but the “3 days” part is to me, just something that happens.

        3. Matt Williams

          Frankly and Cecilia, reading your exchange caused me to remember one of my favorite quotes from Tony Hillerman . . . “that racial difference exists only in the bigot’s imagination but that cultural differences are fascinating.”

          And Frankly, all you have to do is drive on Interstate 80 any day of the week to see that a general disdain for laws is prevalent in all races and cultures and genders.

  5. Anon

    tj: “Criminal history???  She was a graduate of Texas A&M and worked at the University.

    From http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/07/16/sandra-bland-tried-to-post-bail-before-allegedly-committing-suicide.html

    “Bland pleaded guilty to misdemeanor marijuana possession in 2010 and paid $373 in fines, according to court records. A 2009 drug paraphernalia charge was dismissed in Harris County, court records also show. Her driver’s license had been suspended three times prior to last year, and she was on court supervision in Illinois, according to the Chicago Tribune. On July 31, Bland’s license was set to be suspended again, the Tribune reported.”

    dp: “what was interesting was the video i saw where he let others off with a warning, but not bland.

    From http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/sandra-bland-cigarette_55aeec9fe4b0a9b94852ee0f

    “In an instant, a traffic stop and written warning for a minor violation turned into a violent altercation…”

    1. Davis Progressive

      “In an instant, a traffic stop and written warning for a minor violation turned into a violent altercation…”

      you’re misrepresenting what this quote means.  the trigger point for her aggressive response on smoking didn’t create the traffic ticket (written warning must mean traffic ticket as well, because a warning is typically verbal not written), it created him pulling her out of the car (which is where i believe he made the error in escalating the situation).  he didn’t need to do that.  she wasn’t a threat, he didn’t like her attitude and decided to exercise his authority.

      1. Anon

        It wasn’t even a ticket – the officer was only going to give Bland a warning.  The traffic warning was WRITTEN, not verbal. If the officer had just explained to the woman he was only giving her a written warning, she might not have gotten agitated.  Even if she did react, the officer should have explained that a written warning means there would be no fine, it is just a reminder to use her turn signal.  Even if she reacted after being told that, it was completely inappropriate for the officer to ask why Bland was irritated, escalating the entire encounter, then putting fuel on the fire by demanding that she put out her cigarette (the officer clearly was angry at that point – but he should have been able to keep his ire in check since he supposedly has training to not allow his emotions to get the better of him).   Ultimately, the greater blame lies with the officer, because he is supposed to know how to handle traffic stops professionally in a manner that will not escalate the encounter.  But remember, he was only on the police force for 1 year, so clearly he was inexperienced (not an excuse, more an explanation for his behavior).

        From Wikipedia:
        “When traffic stop is made, a warning issued by the officer is a statement that the motorist has committed some offense, but is being spared the actual citation. Officers can use their own discretion whether to issue a citation or warning.[1] The motorist may receive the warning either verbally or as a written slip of paper stating the infraction, but will not be charged with the offense, will not have to pay a fine, and will not receive any points. Depending on the laws of the jurisdiction, the warning may or may not appear on records visible to officers, which if it does, could result in another stop within a fixed period of time leading to an actual citation, or in some cases, the motorist may be charged with both offenses.”

  6. tribeUSA

    “Sheriff Glenn Smith, whose Waller County jail was where Bland was held, told the AP news agency on Wednesday that during the booking process she said she had tried to kill herself in the past .

    He said Bland’s comments were made after she was asked a series of questions that are posed to every person who is detained at the jail in Hempstead, about 60 miles (100 km) northwest of Houston.”

    Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-33631694

    Could the sherriff’s office be lying to cover up a murder? I don’t know if there is independent audiovisual or written corroboration of Bland’s proported statement. What motive would any employee at the jail have to murder her?

     

    On the issue of the arrest; no question the cop seemed a bit on edge and did not behave courteously–a good takeaway lesson for your kids is: always obey the officers and don’t give him no ‘tude! The officer may become irked; perhaps he had a stressful day with some bad perps; or is just having a bad day or a bad life. A risk minimization strategy is compliance, to reduce the chances of something going wrong–as seen in all the deaths of young black men highlighted in the mainstream media and the Davis Vanguard, in each case of the arrest gone wrong the suspect had been resisting arrest or otherwise giving the cop ‘tude–not that this in any way merits a death sentence; but such behavior increases the stress level and just increases the chances of something inadvertantly going very wrong. Interaction with a cop is not a good time to play a social dominance contest or who-is-the-most-righteous-person contest; save that for someone who is not a cop, or at least with a cop who is not on duty!

     

  7. Tia Will

    One question that arose for me as I watched the video is how much training the officer has had in in appreciating variability in emotional response. It did seem to me that Ms. Bland, like the officer himself did seem to emotionally escalate very quickly. Some seem to have interpreted this as disrespect of the officer, however, as a doctor I have been trained to think of the various possibilities for why a given symptom or reaction may be occurring. It seems possible to me that just as the officer might be experiencing “ a stressful day with some bad perps; or is just having a bad day or a bad life” it might also be possible that Ms. Bland might be having stressors, including mental stressors or illness that have nothing little to do with the written warning but much to do with other circumstances in her life. He questioned her about her attitude, but did not seem to care about or even listen to her response based on his only comment “Are you done yet ?”

    Police are given the power to physically force people to do their will up to the point of killing them. While it is of course good practical advice to obey the police, the onus for appropriate management of the situation including setting the tone clearly lies on the police. In this case, the officer did not manage the situation in a civil manner. Given his lack of experience, my thoughts go to the adequacy of his training. Was he simply unable to maintain a civil demeanor because he was unable to appreciate that she was losing control early enough to tone down his own emotional response.

  8. zaqzaq

    David writes,

    “So here we go again. Another mystery about another African-American who died while in custody.”

    This will be a quick straight forward investigation.  There was a motion sensor camera outside of the jail cell.  It does not show anyone going into the cell during the period in questions.  She made verbal contact with an employee about an hour before she was found.  It is turning out that she was not the happy person her family portrayed he to be.  The depression and PTSD facebook statement coupled with court supervision and her statement about having tried to kill herself before to the jail staff all paint a picture of a troubled woman.  The Coroner has already ruled this a suicide.  It will go nowhere.  When the DA determines the video stream was not doctored and there is nothing on the ligature he will confirm the Coroner’s finding.  The feds will initiate an investigation to nowhere taking over a year only to rule nothing happened on busy news day.  If this had been a white woman the media would never have touched it.  The bigger issue that is not being looked at is mental illness and treatment for it.

    1. David Greenwald

      There are several aspects to this case, you focused on the end result. One the questions that should be asked, even if it was ruled a suicide – why was she in custody for as long as she was given the circumstances of the arrest and the case, why is the officer heard consorting with his supervisor around the 30 minute mark on how to document the case, and why didn’t the jail knowing that she might have a history of suicidal tendencies, not put her into protective custody. Right now this is looking less like “murder” and more like a cluster-f by the authorities.

      1. zaqzaq

        You are trying to string together a chain of events that are unrelated to whether she committed suicide.  The stop is not related to the conditions in the jail surrounding her suicide.  You are trying to link them together.  I suspect that this case would have gotten zero exposure but for the suicide.  Do jailers miss hourly checks from time to time if something else requires their attention.  Probably.  Did it lead to her death?  Maybe she was dead with in 60 minutes of the last check or not.  It does not change the fact that she decided to end her life via suicide.  Do suicides happen in jails?  Yes.  Do jailers try to prevent them?  Yes.  Are jailers or their systems full proof?  No.  Is it a sad story?  Yes.  Get over it.

        The lessons to take away from this are to be polite when stopped by a police officer.  They are human also and imperfect.  The stop was legal due to the illegal lane change (not signaling).  The officer can order a person out of the vehicle.  There is a supreme court case on point.  Did she fail to follow the officers directions?  Yes.  Her actions during the stop start the chain of events that got her in jail where she committed suicide.

        Police officers are not mental health clinicians.  To expect them to consistently recognize mental illness is unrealistic.  That is why they are cops and not mental health workers.

        There are now reports that she had marijuana in her system.  She was under court supervision.  She had lost her drivers license on numerous occasions.  She may have been a pot head, stoner, … .  Was she driving under the influence of pot and decided to smoke the cigarette to hide the smell?  She clearly was a flawed person.  Not the Miss perfect that her family portrayed her as.  Just some more spin from the family getting in front of the story until more facts get dug up.

        1. Napoleon Pig IV

          And you are avoiding the real issue. The idiot bully cop was a direct causal link in her death. He is the one who initiated aggressive behavior (as shown clearly in the video) and he is the one who so clearly abused his authority and essentially assaulted the victim. What her past might hold and what her current life was like is irrelevant to the fact that this criminal should never have been given a badge. Oink!

    2. David Greenwald

      “If this had been a white woman the media would never have touched it. ”

      I agree. The current narrative pushed this incident into the public light – an incident that never would have seen the light of day without the current narrative. I think that’s a good thing however because these things need to be exposed and need coverage.

    3. Barack Palin

      Thanks Zaqzaq for the info.  This is just another case where the left cried wolf before they knew all the facts and now once again they have egg on their face.

      1. David Greenwald

        No it’s not. The case stinks, nothing Zaqzaq said disputes that. As Tia points out, the jail violated their own policies for how to handle such an inmate. I suggest you revise your remarks.

        1. Davis Progressive

          you’d never have stories of any kind if you had that standard.  still i think in this case, there are a lot of concerns expressed that justify the coverage here.  are you defending the police officer’s actions?  are you defending the jail’s?  are you making any substantive point whatsoever?

  9. Tia Will

    zaqzaq

    The bigger issue that is not being looked at is mental illness and treatment for it.”

    Agreed. However, speaking only to the prevention of future such instances, one the first step to  mitigate the effects of mental illness is to recognize it. It does not appear that the arresting officer even considered the possibility that the overly dramatic, histrionic response to his actions might have been related to a mental problem rather than willful disobedience. I am wondering if she was assessed at all for mental status before she was incarcerated.

  10. Tia Will

    I am wondering if she was assessed at all for mental status before she was incarcerated.”

    From information presented this morning on The Takeaway, it would seem that she did complete the standard screening questionnaire including a statement that she had previously attempted suicide and that she was not seen within the standard time frame of one hour, but rather was found after 90 minutes unsupervised. So it would seem that the jail met one part of their own criteria, but did not fulfill a second criteria.

    1. Frankly

      WesC – This is a terrible shooting.  It appears to me that one or two cops need to be tried for murder.

      Interesting, nowhere is there any report of her race.  So, I assume she was white.  Which might explain why this is a non-event.

        1. Frankly

          perhaps because liberals and their media puppets are so race-infatuated that they even chastise Democrat Presidential candidate Martin O’Malley for saying “all lives matter”.

          We need an army of therapists to fix this.

    2. Napoleon Pig IV

      Is this link the end of the story, or are those obviously murdering cops being charged with 1st degree murder as they should be?

      The are a lot of good cops, obviously. But, they are not micro-gods to whom any of us owe mindless respect and obedience. Obedience to the commands of a corrupt or bullying cop is a matter of expediency, not a matter of deference to what is right. An equally appropriate response is to neutralize the threat, if that can be done safely. We are talking about criminal behavior after all.

      The idea that cop abuse and corruption is best sorted out by the courts is a nice ideal, but in our actual world, such niceties take too long and cost too much. As someone said, “justice delayed is justice denied.” Oink!

    1. Napoleon Pig IV

      So do a substantial percent of American citizens at any given time. Your point is? Marijuana in her system justifies the cop’s assault? It justifies her death?

  11. Tia Will

    TBD

     most people know its not wise to argue with a police officer.”

    “Not wise” does not and should not equal “illegal”. This officer treated it as though it were.  I do not believe that “lack of wisdom” should be a criteria for arrest. Nor do I believe that it should be used as an excuse for escalation of the over use of force on the part of the police which is what is clearly demonstrated here.

     

  12. zaqzaq

    The officer has the lawful means to order her from the car.  The detention for failing to signal can support the arrest for this violation.  Once she disobeys the lawful order of the police officer she can be arrested for that offense.  I am not excusing the officer’s tone or decision making in this instance, just pointing out what has been playing in the news.

    Where are all the people critical of imposed workplace inhalation of second hand smoke?  Ordering her out  of the car was clearly justified.

    1. David Greenwald

      Why? She wasn’t suspected of committing a crime. Her only violation was a failure to signal which was questionable at worst and ticky-tack at best. He unnecessarily escalated a situation that needed to be de-escalated. Have you talked with police officers about this? I have and not one of them would have ordered her from the car at that point.

      1. Barack Palin

        Oh please, this is only a story if the cops were responsible for her death and you IMO thought that the case and that’s why you and other lefties tried to run with the story.  Once it was found that the police likely had nothing to do with her death this became a non story.  But as typical liberals refuse to let it go as we found in the Trayvon Martin, Brown, Gray and other like case that you and your ilk were just wrong but refuse to own up to it.

  13. Frankly

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/sandra-bland-arrest-transcript_55b03a88e4b0a9b94853b1f1

    What is freakin’ amazing to me is that the left propaganda site puts this up to make a case against the officer, and it is more than clear that the officer actually conducted himself very well until the suspect escalated things.

    Lefties in media apparently have a lot of internal noise that prevents them from being able to hear the truth… they can only reflect their ideological beliefs.

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