Caption + Geneva Reed-Veal, left, and Sharon Cooper, center, the mother and sister of Sandra Bland, listen to attorney Larry Rogers Jr., right, explain concerns about the Texas grand jury’s role in the death of Naperville resident Sandra Bland, Monday, Dec. 21, 2015 in Chicago.
Bland was found dead in her Waller County jail cell on July 13 after getting into an argument with a Texas state trooper who stopped her for a minor traffic violation then said she assaulted him.
The case is not over, howevrer. The grand jury will reconvene in January to decide if the white trooper who pulled Bland over, Brian Encinia, should face charges on how he conducted himself in the traffic stop.
Ms Bland died by asphyxiation after using a plastic bag to hang herself in her cell, according to Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathias.
Bland’s family has disputed the coroner’s conclusion that she committed suicide, insisting Bland was happy about starting a new job and had no reason to kill herself.
In a move that surprised probably no one, but saddened many, a Texas grand jury declined to indict any of the jail staff for the death of Sandra Bland. “They found that he violated internal procedures, the Department’s courtesy policy basically”, Smith says.
Many US jurisdictions rely upon a grand jury to determine if there is sufficient evidence to merit criminal charges. A grand jury can still indict Encinia for inciting the traffic stop that led to Bland’s arrest and, ultimately, her death.
Even so, it remains very much to be seen whether the outcome will ultimately be any different in the Gray cases than it was in the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., Eric Garner in NY or Sandra Bland in Texas. The attorneys for the Bland family disagree and are making the argument that they need the evidence that is now being presented to the grand jury in the ongoing criminal case, in order to make their arguments in the civil lawsuit. “For us, as well as the grand jury”, Jordan told reporters.
During a news conference on Monday in Chicago, relatives of Bland criticized the grand jury process. What started as normal conversation gets testy after Encinia asks her to put out her cigarette and Bland refuses…
A Houston-based federal judge last Thursday set a trial date for January 23, 2017, in the Bland wrongful death suit. “She got that opportunity and somewhere between a two- to three- day period, something frightful happened to her”, Reed-Veal continued.
The family have denied that she was suicidal and have accused the jail of being “reckless” in disregarding her safety and failing to keep her free from harm.
“We’re all upset. We’re upset, and we’re disappointed, and that’s what we feel collectively as a family”.
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