Today would have been Sandra Bland‘s 32nd birthday, and it feels like just yesterday that her mysterious death was the number one news story all over the world. On July 23, 2015, the then 28-year old was found hanged in a jail cell in Waller County, Texas three days after being arrested during a traffic stop. Her death was ruled a suicide, but some things didn’t add up.
According to reports, “Texas authorities and the FBI conducted an investigation into Bland’s death and determined the Waller County jail did not follow required policies, including time checks on inmates and ensuring that employees had completed required mental health training.” State Trooper Brian Encinia who pulled Bland over and was seen on the dashcam footage being aggressive her was placed on administrative leave for failing to follow proper traffic stop procedures.
In 2016, he was indicted for perjury for making false statements about the circumstances surrounding Bland’s arrest and then fired by the Texas Department of Public Safety. However, in 2017 the perjury charge against Encinia was dropped in return for his agreement to permanently end his law enforcement career. But that still doesn’t give the Bland family their beloved Sandra back.
Sandra was a very woke, young individual. In January 2015, just months before her death, she started posting videos on Facebook about various Black issues, including police brutality and their mistreatment of Black people. Sources say that Bland had at least ten previous encounters with police in Illinois and Texas around time of her death, and owed $7,579 in fines. Ironically, before her death, she posted, “In the news that we’ve seen as of late, you could stand there, surrender to the cops, and still be killed.”
Sandra Bland’s death set off a wave of protests and petitions, and the climate of America at the time didn’t help. Tensions against Black folks and the police were at an all time high as we were had just finished protesting and marching for Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown. Those murders of unarmed Black men at the hands of law enforcement also inspired Sandra to do her blunt, informative, Facebook videos entitled #SandraSpeaks.
In one video, she stated,
“If we can get enough White people to show that All Lives Matter, maybe they can stop killing our Black brothers. Black people are out here doing all that they can, and we can’t help but get pissed off when we see situations where it’s clear that a Black life didn’t matter.”
In honor of a young queen gone too soon, hit the flip for more inspiring videos by Sandra Bland.