BREAKING: A mostly white grand jury in Texas just failed to indict anyone in Sandra Bland’s death, and has allowed all Waller County sheriff officials and jail employees to escape accountability.1
It’s what Bland’s family and supporters feared–and it’s exactly why we need the Department of Justice to step in NOW to investigate. Despite months of grassroots pressure, the Department of Justice has done NOTHING.
Over 500,000 people have signed the petition demanding the DOJ step in and launch a federal investigation–can you add your name?
The grand jury is reconvening in January to decide whether to indict Trooper Brian Encinia, the cop who wrongfully arrested Bland. But it’s clear that we can’t trust Waller County officials to investigate themselves. The DOJ has the ability to probe the entire police department and determine if the death of Sandra Bland is a symptom of a larger issue with police violence in Waller County. If the DOJ remains silent, we can’t expect that the Waller County police will ever be held accountable–that’s why we need as many people as possible taking a stand for justice.
Add your name.
-Nita and Shaunna
P.S. Here’s the original email we sent about the case:
Sandra Bland was driving from Illinois to Texas to start a new job at her alma mater. By all accounts she was thrilled at the opportunity.
But that opportunity is gone, after a routine traffic stop Friday in Waller County, TX led to her death in a jail cell Monday morning.2
And the local sheriff–who was fired in a different city for racist and violent conduct–claims Sandra killed herself. 3 But Sandra’s family and friends say that’s not possible. They are demanding answers but getting little help from local authorities. If left up to a racist sheriff, you can bet justice for Sandra and her family will be delayed–possibly forever.
That’s why we need the Department of Justice to step in and investigate Sandra’s death. Can you sign the petition?
Tell Attorney General Loretta Lynch: Waller County Police must be held accountable. Launch a federal investigation into the death of Sandra Bland.
Sign the petition
In the video, you can hear Sandra screaming, “You slammed my head into the ground. Do you not even care about that?”3 She was just about to start a new job in student outreach at her alma mater Prairie View A&M University. Her family and friends say she was excited about her new job, and describe her as “strong,” “outspoken,” and “passionate.” She was also a proud advocate against police violence and brutality. Her death is tragic.5
Black women and men are 4.2 times more likely to be killed by a police officer than anyone else.6 From Natasha McKenna, Alexia Christian, and Sheneque Proctor, to Yvvette Smith and Rekia Boyd, the deaths of Black women at the hands of police–with no accountability–needs to be stopped.
The police department is claiming she took her own life by hanging herself–but there were no shoestrings or blankets in her cell she could have used.7 And they’re refusing to release any video footage from that night. The police aren’t going to police themselves–that’s why we need the Department of Justice to launch a full investigation of Sandra’s death.
Sandra Bland deserves justice, and as we’ve seen with cases like those of Renisha McBride and Marissa Alexander, justice often comes only after we all raise our voices loudly.8 When people demanded an investigation of Ferguson police, the Department of Justice found undeniable patterns of racism and violence, and they were held accountable.9 Together, with our friends at ColorofChange, we can make sure Waller County police are held accountable, and stem the tide of police violence against Black women.
Will you add your name?
Thanks for speaking out.
–Nita, Shaunna, Kat, Karin, Adam, Gabriela, Holly, Kaili, Kathy, Onyi, Susan, Clarise, Anathea, Audine, Ryan, and Shannon, the UltraViolet team
1. Prosecutor: No indictment in Sandra Bland jail death, Associated Press, December 21, 2015
2. Sandra Bland Drove to Texas to Start a New Job, so How Did She End Up Dead In Jail?, The Root, July 16, 2015
3. Texas Sheriff involved in the death of Sandra Bland fired from previous post for racism, Daily Kos, July 16, 2015
4. Sandra Bland Drove to Texas to Start a New Job, so How Did She End Up Dead In Jail?, The Root, July 16, 2015
5. Family wary after Naperville woman’s death in Texas jail; grand jury to inquire, Chicago Tribune, July 16, 2015
6. Here’s the Data That Shows Cops Kill Black People at a Higher Rate Than White People, MotherJones, September 10, 2014
7. What Happened to Sandra Bland, a Black Woman Who Died in Jail Monday?, Gawker, July 16, 2015
8. Renisha McBride’s family: ‘You can rest now, justice is served’, myFOXDetroit.com, August 7, 2014
Marissa Alexander Released From Prison, The Root, January 28, 2015
9. Ferguson’s Conspiracy Against Black Citizens, The Atlantic, March 5, 2015
Texas grand jury refuses to indict police officers involved in the death of Sandra Bland: here.