Questions raised about why Sandra Bland was arrested in the first place.
Dallas, TX -- (ReleaseWire) -- 08/04/2015 --In mid-July 2015, Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old black woman, was found dead in her jail cell. Ms. Bland, who had been admitted to the Texas county jail three days prior, had hanged herself. While the death has been ruled a suicide (although her family adamantly denies this), interrogations are being opened into why Sandra Bland was jailed in the first place, as well as why she wasn't under better watch despite telling jail personnel that she was suicidal.
The Cause of Sandra Bland's Arrest
According to news reports, Sandra Bland was allegedly arrested by a Texas state trooper when she illegally assaulted him. The state trooper, a Mr. Brian Encinia, had originally pulled Ms. Bland over for failing to signal. Perhaps she was hesitant to exit the vehicle, as many people might be. When asking Ms. Bland to exit the vehicle, Encinia visibly points to his taser – the interaction was caught on camera. However, Encinia then asked Bland to come over to the side of the vehicle, where interactions were no longer visible by video.
A simple traffic stop for failing to use a turn signal then escalated into charges of assaulting a police officer. Assault charges in Texas are typically a misdemeanor(http://www.dfwcriminallawyer.com/misdemeanors/), but they are escalated to a third degree felony if the person assaulted is a police officer.
Criminal Investigation Opened
Texas District Attorney Elton Mathis has opened a criminal investigation into Sandra Bland's arrest. While it's unclear what charges may be filed against Encinia—if any—Mathis told reporters openly that he didn't like what he saw on the camera. Mathis has also opened a separate inquiry into Sandra Bland's death, telling reporters that if anything suspicious is found, he and his legal team will take it to a grand jury. The FBI is also looking into the investigation to determine whether or not any federal laws were broken.
After Ms. Bland's Arrest
Ms. Bland's arrest isn't the only thing that's suspicious; apparently upon being admitted to the jail, Bland told officers within the jail that she had attempted to commit suicide in the past. Despite this, county officials—when questioned in a state probe—failed to provide any documentation detailing that jail officers checked on inmates every hour, as is the law. Furthermore, there was also no documentation presenting evidence that jailers had been trained on how to handle inmates who are suffering from mental disabilities, including being potentially suicidal.
The Rights of Those Arrested & Charged
Regardless of whether or not a person is guilty, he or she has rights under federal and state laws. In this case, Sandra Bland's rights may have been violated. Further investigations will tell more. Unfortunately Ms. Bland did not live long enough to hire a defense attorney, who could have helped uncover some of the mystery shrouding the arrest and subsequent suicide.