No Indictments in Modern-Day Lynching of Sandra Bland

“I’m infuriated, and everybody else should be infuriated as well.”

December 23, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


On December 21, a grand jury in Waller County, Texas announced that no indictments would be issued against police or jail personnel who presided over the modern day lynching of Sandra Bland this summer. This outrage was immediately denounced by Sandra's family and attorneys. Geneva Reed-Veal, Sandra's mother, said “Right now, the biggest problem for me is the entire process. I simply can't have faith in a system that's not inclusive of my family....” Attorney Cannon Lambert told reporters “We are not going to allow what they have done in a limited, secret capacity to prevent us from doing what we need to do to get answers for the family.”

Sandra Bland was 28 when she drove from Chicago to Prairie View, Texas, where she had graduated with a degree in agriculture from Prairie View A&M University, an historically Black institution. She was a young woman happy to be back among college friends, happy to have gotten a good job. But soon after she arrived, a cop pulled her over. He brutalized and mocked her. He pulled her out of the car and threw her on the ground. He threw her into the Waller County Jail­—all this for supposedly not using her turn signal before she changed lanes!

An Ongoing Coverup

Two days later Sandra Bland was found dead, hanging in her cell. Police and prosecutors immediately claimed that she had killed herself. Her family, and thousands of people throughout the country fighting to end brutality and murder by police refused to accept the “official story.” Her name became yet another of the thousands of Stolen Lives.

Everything done by police and prosecutors since the moment news of her death came out has been a cover up. They released a video that had obviously been tampered with, and never explained its gaps. The Waller County DA said he regarded the cell where Sandra Bland died as a “crime scene”—then allowed reporters to trample through and effectively destroy the evidence. Jail authorities tampered with evidence in obvious ways. After word of Sandra's death got out, police claimed she was “suicidal,” but the county jail authorities, even by their own admission, did nothing to see that she was given medical attention. No testimony has been released from what were supposed to be interrogations of jail personnel. No one knows what went on in the grand jury, except that none of Sandra's friends and family who were communicating with her were called in.

Some things that are known: the cop who pulled Sandra Bland over, who brutalized her, threatened her, and arrested her when this Black woman wasn't subservient and docile, walks free. All the cops and jail personnel who were in the Waller County Jail supervising Sandra Bland walk free. Their supervisors, the Waller County DA and sheriff, walk free. Sandra Bland was alive when she was taken into the clutches of these thugs; she was dead when she left their miserable county jail.

The grand jury said it will reconvene in January to consider other possible charges. But at the same time the “special prosecutor” in this case announced that “no Waller County Jail employee” will be charged, and it is unclear what they will be considering in January.

Sharon Cooper said about her sister Sandra, “I'm infuriated, and everybody else should be infuriated as well.” She is right; the murder of Sandra Bland is outrageous and unacceptable. People should be infuriated at the cover up that has been in place for months. The truth of what happened to Sandra Bland when these Waller County cops took her into their custody must be brought to the light of day.

No More Stolen Lives

Dead from hanging in a jail cell, like Sandra Bland. Choked to death on a sidewalk, like Eric Garner. Shot 16 times, like Laquan McDonald. Neck broken in the back of a police van, like Freddie Gray. Gunned down while playing in a park, like Tamir Rice. Cop after murdering cop exonerated, not charged at all, most likely acquitted if ever brought to trial.

Any system that does this to people routinely; any system whose “law officers” gun people down, choke them to death, beat and lock them away for nothing; any system whose legal apparatus time after time lets these murderers walk free to do it again—such a system has lost its legitimacy and has no right to exist.



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