Death Of Sandra Bland

It seems such a regular occurrence now that cops killing unarmed black people in the US has become somewhat like hearing of a marine killed In Afghanistan or Iraq during US invasions and occupations of those countries. Nor does shock register when the cameras focus on the grimacing face of an angry man saying that people like him don’t fear ISIS but very much fear US cops. It has reached the point where cops are a greater threat to the lives of US citizens than the theocratic fascists of political Islam who so often make the news in grossly amplified fashion.

Remembering that Sandra Bland's life mattered
When Sandra Bland died in a police cell three days after she had been confined there, the official response was suicide. In the face of public pressure that has since changed and there is now a murder investigation under way. It begs rumination on just how many murders have actually taken place in police cells that were subsequently explained away as suicide. 

Bland was “an outspoken opponent of police brutality” and one suspicion is that she was pulled over by Trooper Brian Encinia for that very reason. When she stood up for herself she was set upon and ultimately died in police custody three days later. It is clear from a recording that at the very least Sandra Bland was subject to police heavy handedness during her arrest.

She told a friend she had been “roughed up”.

This police bullishness resulted from nothing more serious than a failure by Bland to make the correct signal for a lane switch. Bland herself later left a voice message on a friend’s phone expressing bewilderment at how things had turned out.  "I'm still just at a loss for words honestly at this whole process ... How did switching lanes with no signal turn into all of this, I don't even know."

Rebecca Robertson, the legal and policy director for A.C.L.U. in Texas, said, “The initial stop should not have resulted in an arrest.” The cop could easily have handed Bland a traffic violation ticket and sent her on her way.

There are now a number of factors said to be complicating the case from the police point of view:

She tried to hire a bail bondsman shortly before her death and reports that the Texas Sheriff in the county she was arrested in was fired from a previous job over allegations of racism.

Added to the mix is a clear attempt at damage limitation and cover up, Texas police put out the least damaging video version of Bland's arrest. When challenged, the force claimed a technical glitch. The lack of faith in US law enforcement has been underscored by a growing willingness on the part of the public to believe that Sandra Bland was already dead when the police photographed her for a mugshot.

Trooper Encinia is now on desk duty while Sandy Bland is dead. Justice is not circulating evenly here. Black lives matter to black people much more than they do to white cops.

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Anthony McIntyre

Former IRA prisoner, spent 18 years in Long Kesh. Free Speech advocate, writer, historian, humanist, and researcher.

5 comments to ''Death Of Sandra Bland"

  1. I can't believe that black America hasn't got more organised in terms of violence. It's hard to think of an ethnic group who has been so abused, slavery, segregation etc and not responded through violent uprising. Everybody applauds Martin Luther Kings non violent approach but did it really work. It seems to me that minorities in America are legitimate targets simply for being in the wrong neighbourhood. Surely Americas right to bear arms is open to all. The right in America are always bleating about their rights, well if I was a minority in America I would be demanding the right to defend myself against obvious government aggression. Lets not forget the Latinos and native Americans shot down by police.

  2. That would be a huge mistake,David. The situation is much more complex than you appreciate and any violence would backfire in a major way.

  3. Whether violence would work isn't really my point. Its hard to think of a people who has endured such repression without reaction. From slavery to k.k.k volence to the ghettoisation of the people there doesn't seem to me to have been any organised violent response. I find that strange. What is the reasons? is it fear? Apathy?
    All scenarios become complex, however when there is such prolonged violence without response I find it hard to understand. I admire non violence from afar, the philosophy of it but, in that I am a hypocrite, for if where happening in my community I would be reacting violently.

  4. David,

    nice to see you back.

    I suppose it is axiomatic for those who are not pacifist, that violence is an option in a range of circumstances. It then becomes a question of efficacy. And efficacy will be shaped by ethics other than pacifist.

  5. Never went away Anthony, just stopped commenting as I felt I was repeating myself. That was an academic response to a elemental question. I asked this question as a someone who is genuinely curious and not as a heroic Irishman ha. I suppose what I mean is does Black America recognise themselves as a community or nomads who yearn to be accepted. If you respond bear in mind I left school at 15 ha and had to look up what they words meant


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