( 4UMF NEWS ) No Indictment In Sandra Bland’s Death:
Grand jurors in Texas chose not to indict any law enforcement officials in the death of Sandra Bland, who took her own life in a jail cell in July.
The jury passed over an indictment after 11 hours of deliberation, absolving Waller County Sheriff’s Office jail staff, but it will reconvene in January to continue its probe into the 28-year-old’s July 10 arrest.
An indictment targeting Texas state Trooper Brian Encinia for the heated traffic stop that led to Bland’s arrest is still a possibility, prosecutors said.
“It’s all in the way you phrase it,” Darrell Jordan, one of the five special prosecutors in Bland’s case, told the New York Times. “The case is not over. That’s what I’m stressing right now. The case is not over.”
The decision has baffled Bland’s family, who believe it’s another attempt by authorities to cover up the events leading to and after her death.
“They continue to do things we are disappointed in,” said Cannon Lambert, the family’s attorney.
Bland, who is black, died on July 12, two days after Trooper Encinia stopped the Chicago-area native for making an improper lane change about 50 miles northwest of Houston. She had recently accepted a job opportunity at Prairie View A&M University and planned to move.
Her promising career was cut short when she was found dead in a Waller County jail cell, hanging from a partition by a plastic garbage bag. She had been unable to post a $500 bail.
Both the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences in Houston and a Texas Rangers investigation declared her death a suicide, but relatives and activists continued to question the independent conclusions and the circumstances surrounding the incident.
Her death fueled mounting outrage over alleged police brutality and racial profiling fanned by the death of Michael Brown at the hands of a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo.
Bland’s suicide while in police custody prompted her family to file a wrongful death suit that will go to trial in 2017.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, who met Bland’s family in October, expressed his dismay at the grand jury’s decision in a statement Monday night.
“Sandra Bland should not have died while in police custody,” Sanders said. “There’s no doubt in my mind that she, like too many African-Americans who die in police custody, would be alive today if she were a white woman.”
Sanders posed with Bland’s relatives in a photo at a Washington D.C. Thai restaurant where he said her death was “inexcusable.”
“My thoughts are with her family and her loved ones tonight,” Sanders added in Monday’s statement. “We need to reform a very broken criminal justice system.”