Sandra Bland Case: Updates

[Content Note: Police brutality; racism; death; self-harm.]

The latest news being leaked from the investigation into Sandra Bland's death is a bunch of "case against the victim" stuff typical to police killings of black women and men: Sandra Bland had previously attempted suicide; a toxicology report found she had smoked weed; she had cutting scars on her wrists.

Naturally, the Waller County Sheriff's Office wants us to interpret that information in a way that casts Bland as a mentally unstable drug user who was bound to kill herself and there's nothing they could do about it.

Instead of, say, a woman with mental illness who used weed to treat her depression and anxiety to aid in her survival.

And releasing information such as this—
Newly released booking documents reveal Bland told a deputy at the Waller County jail in Hempstead, Texas, that she once tried to kill herself within the last year by taking pills after she had a miscarriage.

In her handwritten jail intake form, there are check marks in the "yes" category next to questions asking if she ever felt very depressed, or if she feels that way now. In a computer-generated form produced a few hours later, the same questions are marked "no," though both forms do show Bland previously attempted suicide.
—indicts the police more than it does Bland, to anyone who understands that the police are legally responsible for the safety of the people they take into custody. Especially when:
Despite that, jail officials never placed her on suicide watch.

The Texas Commission on Jail Standards has found the cell where Bland died to be deficient and non-compliant with minimum jail standards. The commission said guards were not properly trained in suicide prevention procedures, and failed to observe Bland at least once an hour while she was in her cell, as required.
The possibilities are these: Bland died from an untreated head injury after State Trooper Brian Encinia bashed her head against the pavement and police staged her suicide; Bland died from an epileptic seizure (recall that Encinia's response to Bland telling him she had epilepsy was "Good") and police staged her suicide; Bland was killed or died in some other way in police custody and her sucide was staged; or Bland indeed took her own life, after she informed police of previous suicide attempts and they utterly failed to prevent another while she was in their care.

There is no version of events where police are not culpable for Sandra Bland's death.

And all because Officer Encinia was angry that Sandra Bland knew her rights and was exercising them. No matter how she died, she is dead because that man became enraged that a black woman wouldn't unquestioningly submit to him.

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