Sandra Bland’s family files lawsuit in Texas

This video from the USA says about itself:

Sandra Bland’s Sister Responds to Suicide Allegations, Lawyer Says Waller County Withholding Details

24 July 2015

Law enforcement officials in Waller County, Texas, have concluded that the cause of Sandra Bland’s death in police custody was suicide. But Bland’s family and friends dispute claims she was suicidal, and say there is no evidence she previously tried to kill herself before her traffic stop escalated into an arrest.

We are joined by Sharon Cooper, who is Sandra Bland’s sister. Also with us is Cannon Lambert, the attorney representing Sandra Bland’s family. He says authorities have given the family only “piecemeal information” from the autopsy they conducted, and disputes the relevance of tests showing marijuana in her system. Cooper says Bland should be remembered as “someone who was unapologetically confident — and that’s OK in today’s world — somebody who was assertive, and somebody who truly stood for what she believed in.”

From in Texas, USA:

Family of Sandra Bland filing federal lawsuit

Adam Bennett & Staff 5:24 a.m. CDT August 4, 2015

HOUSTON – An attorney representing Sandra Bland’s family will file a lawsuit at the federal courthouse in downtown Houston on Tuesday, the attorney’s office says.

The lawsuit will be filed against Trooper Brian Encinia “and others responsible for the death of Sandra Bland,” the office stated in a press release overnight.

Encinia arrested Bland on July 10 in Waller County. She was later found dead in a jail cell in Hempstead on July 13. Officials say she used a plastic bag to hang herself.

Many of Bland’s family, friends and others on social media worldwide have questioned that explanation.

The 28-year-old was arrested her for allegedly kicking Encinia during a traffic stop near Prairie View A&M. Dashcam video does not make clear whether or not that happened, but does show the encounter quickly escalating after Encinia tells Bland to put out her cigarette.

The trooper was put on desk duty for violating procedures during the stop. …

On Tuesday night, Texas Southern University is also continuing that conversation. They’ll be holding a forum with community organizations and leaders to come up with more ways to hold law enforcement accountable and try to prevent another situation like Bland’s from happening again.

Sandra Bland vigil

Across US, Activists Shine Light On Sandra Bland’s Mysterious Death: here.

This 31 July 2015 video from the USA is called Community Demanding US Attorney Investigate the Death of Raynette Turner.

From the Philadelphia Tribune in the USA:

5th Black woman dies in police custody in July

Tuesday, August 4, 2015 12:00 am

Courtney Jacobs, AFRO Staff Writer

A New York mother of eight is the fifth Black woman to die while in police custody in the month of July.

Raynette Turner, 43, died in a Westchester County jail cell after being arrested for allegedly stealing crab legs at a wholesale food store.

Turner was arrested July 25 on the petty larceny charge and was set to be arraigned on July 27. However, the previous evening, she complained about not feeling well and was taken to the hospital by ambulance. Turner was diagnosed with high blood pressure.

The next day, the defendant’s husband, Herman Turner sat at Mount Vernon City Court patiently awaiting her appearance for the arraignment. She never made it, however, dying just two hours before her 4 p.m. arraignment.

Turner’s family was not notified of her death until the following morning when police detectives told them at their house.

“I want somebody’s head to roll on this,” Herman Turner told The Journal News. “I am not going to rest until I get some type of justice for my wife. That’s the bottom line.

“No one said anything to me about my wife was downstairs, dead, they just let me sit in the courtroom all day long, waiting for her to come and be seen by the judge,” he added. “I’m angry, very angry. Somebody needs to pay. Somebody really needs to pay for this. I’m sorry, I’m not going to let this rest.”

Turner’s autopsy is still currently pending for the cause of her death.

The case has drawn attention in social media and elsewhere, coming in the wake of the well-publicized deaths of four other Black women in police custody

27 thoughts on “Sandra Bland’s family files lawsuit in Texas

  1. The cop had problems with blacks a cultural understanding of a target of inner frustration of of the individuals conflict, in this case police often desire power to vent revenge on those who have little or no power, in this case the victim become ultimately killed, it is hard to blame the cop as solely responsible for murder but a deep seated problem within a culture that is so familiar with killing in its history and as every day killings on the streets of America, almost like a killing is just like having another cup of coffee on the streets of America.


  2. Notes on police violence in America

    Dallas man dies after telling deputies he cannot breathe

    By Tom Carter

    4 August 2015

    Joseph Sheldon Hutcheson, 48, died shortly after he ran into the lobby of the Dallas County Jail yelling for help Saturday morning.

    According to the Dallas County sheriff’s office, Hutcheson arrived in a pickup truck and entered the jail’s south tower around 10:00 in the morning. Hutcheson was saying that his wife was trying to hurt him. The deputies apparently handcuffed him and restrained him to get him to “calm down.” He was pronounced dead shortly after 11:30.

    April Berryhill, who was present at the jail, said that she saw “one sheriff’s deputy with his knee on the man’s back and another one with a knee on the man’s throat,” according to the Dallas Morning News.

    Berryhill also said that before Hutcheson died, he was saying that he could not breathe, and that the color of his face changed from a pale white to a pale blue.

    “He came in saying, ‘Don’t be scared of me. I just need some help.’ They just tackled him as if he’d threatened their lives,” Berryhill said. “He didn’t have a weapon. He wasn’t swinging at the officers. He just needed help.”

    Asphyxia (death by suffocation) is an increasingly common cause of death in police custody in America, whether from improper restraint or from direct compression on a person’s chest. The police frequently interpret a suffocating person’s attempts to breathe as resistance, justifying more force. Eric Garner’s famous words—“I can’t breathe”—while he was being strangled by NYPD officers have become a prominent slogan in protests over police brutality.
    Fort Worth police shoot and kill man celebrating his 30th birthday

    Police in Fort Worth, Texas shot and killed Phillip Vallejo while he was celebrating his 30th birthday. The police claim that he was waving a gun, which is disputed by his family.

    “I grabbed him by the arm, ‘Let’s just go, let’s just go,’ then I just heard ‘Put your hands up in the air,’” his wife Brenda Vallejo told WFAA, a local ABC affiliate. “And he did… Cops were behind him, and I just heard shots, pop, pop, pop, pop.”

    Phillip Vallejo was struck five times and was in critical condition at the hospital, where doctors were ultimately unable to save him. “He was a good dad, good husband,” Brenda Vallejo said. “He always made us laugh and smile.”

    Cincinnati police union demands reinstatement of killer cop

    On Thursday, the Fraternal Order of Police-Ohio Labor Council, the Cincinnati police union to which officer Ray Tensing belongs, filed grievances alleging that Tensing was wrongfully terminated. On the same day, Tensing was arraigned on murder charges for killing Samuel DuBose on July 19. Tensing pleaded not guilty.

    Tensing shot DuBose during a traffic stop, which was initiated because DuBose was allegedly missing a front license plate. Body camera footage shows Tensing abruptly shoot DuBose in the head after Tensing appears unsuccessfully to try to open the driver’s side door. According to Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters, Tensing “lost his temper because Mr. DuBose would not get out of his car.”

    On video, Tensing tells other officers, “I thought he was going to run me over,” which clearly never happened. Another officer says, “Don’t say anything.” The video also exposes Tensing’s claims that he shot DuBose because he was “tangled” and “dragged” by the car.

    The position of the police union reflects the violent and antidemocratic attitudes that predominate within police circles. The union is provocatively demanding the immediate reinstatement of Tensing “with back pay, sick time, vacation time, holidays, shift differential, and pension contributions,” according to USA Today.

    Man dies after being tasered in Fitchburg, Massachusetts

    Wilmer Delgado-Soba, 38, of Fitchburg, Massachusetts, went into cardiac arrest about 20 minutes after being tasered by police officers on July 30. The police allege that he was causing a disturbance inside a market in Worchester, Massachusetts. The deceased man’s mother told an interviewer in Spanish that the officers’ actions were “not justified for the crime he committed.”

    According to data collected by Amnesty International, around 500 people died after being tasered between 2001 and 2012 in the United States. The “Truth Not Tasers” blog has documented 916 deaths following Taser use in North America through January 10, 2015.

    Junk science employed to justify police killings

    A New York Times article August 2 sheds some light on the lucrative business of cooking up junk science to justify police shootings. The article highlights the case of psychologist Dr. William J. Lewinski, who has made a career out of testifying as an “expert” on behalf of police officers accused of brutal killings and beatings.

    “When police officers shoot people under questionable circumstances, Dr. Lewinski is often there to defend their actions,” wrote journalist Matt Apuzzo. “Among the most influential voices on the subject, he has testified in or consulted in nearly 200 cases over the last decade or so and has helped justify countless shootings around the country.”

    Dr. Lewinski is a representative of a growing industry of “experts” who specialize in using pseudoscience to help police officers escape accountability. Dr. Lewinski has testified on behalf of an Albuquerque police officer charged with the murder of mentally ill homeless man James Boyd, as well as on behalf of Oscar Grant’s killer Johannes Mehserle, among many other cases.

    Dr. Lewinski, who charges $1,000 per hour to testify at trial, specializes in offering psychological justifications for police shootings, in which he purports to determine what each of the participants thought and observed. He also testifies that police officers who give inaccurate accounts of shootings are really just experiencing memory loss.

    Through his Force Science Institute, Dr. Lewinski has been directly involved in training tens of thousands of police officers. Dr. Lewinski has also produced a number of tendentious and one-sided “studies” designed to help exonerate police officers in court. Lisa Fournier, a Washington State University professor and an American Journal of Psychology editor, determined that Lewinski’s studies were “invalid and unreliable.”


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