Pin It

Grand jury refuses to charge anyone for Sandra Bland’s death

Bland died in a US prison last summer, three days after being arrested for a minor traffic violation

A grand jury has controversially decided that no one should be charged in the case of Sandra Bland, a black woman who was found dead in her prison cell earlier this year.

Bland, who had been pulled over by police for making an “improper lane change” while driving, was arrested after she apparently became too ‘confrontational’ with an officer. Unable to raise the $500 needed for bail, she was then arrested and imprisoned in a Texas county jail. Three days later she was discovered dead in her cell.

A medical examiner had reportedly found that Bland had hung herself – a claim that was refuted by Bland’s friends and family, who insisted that the authorities weren’t telling the whole story. The suspicious circumstances even spawned a “#sandrabland” social campaign, which was quickly picked up by many Black Lives Matter activists. “(She) could have been me,” Nicki Minaj revealed to Billboard recently. “I’m a sassy woman. I may have given a little bit of attitude to a police officer. I could have never come home.”

County officials were eventually forced to release videos from the jail to help dispel any rumours. However, this didn’t quell many fears, with attorney Larry Rogers claiming that the whole process “screamed of a cover-up”.

“After presenting all the evidence as it relates to the death of Sandra Bland, the grand jury did not return an indictment,” explained one of the five special prosecutors, after the results were announced yesterday. “The grand jury also considered things that occurred at the jail and did not return an indictment.”

The grand jury and prosecutors have yet to reach a decision on trooper Brian Encinia, who originally arrested Bland – which still offers a glimmer of hope to many campaigners. After a dashcam video of the full arrest went viral, the police officer has been accused by many of being overly aggressive and racially motivated – threatening to “light up” Bland with a stun gun when she refuses to get out of the car. The grand jury will return in January to discuss whether he will be charged.

You can watch the full video below: