Sandra Bland

A Prairie View street has been renamed after Sandra Bland.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

Tensions over the arrest and death of Sandra Bland boiled over during a Capitol committee hearing Friday morning in which lawmakers and state officials argued over whether the state intentionally withheld newly-released footage of the incident, shot with Bland’s cellphone, from lawyers for Bland’s family and lawmakers.

Sandra Bland's Own Video Of 2015 Texas Traffic Stop Surfaces

May 7, 2019
Screenshot from Department of Public Safety dash cam video shows Sandra Bland as she exits her car after DPS officer Brian Encinia has drawn his taser on July 10, 2015.
Texas Department of Public Safety

Cellphone video recorded by Sandra Bland, a black woman found dead in a Texas jail in 2015 following a confrontational traffic stop, shows for the first time her perspective as a white state trooper draws his stun gun and points it at close range while ordering her out of the car.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

After a damning report that suggested Austin police officers used force in traffic stops at alarming rates, the department is defending its data-collection – sort of.

An analysis of the department's use of force last month by Scott Henson on his criminal justice blog Grits for Breakfast found the department used force that caused injury 921 times in 2018 — a rate of 77 times per 10,000 traffic stops, which dwarfed other, large metropolitan departments in Texas.

Fourteen recommendations in the Texas House County Affairs Committee's recent report to lawmakers – including calls for them to increase police officer training for de-escalation and mental health awareness, to back jail-to-treatment diversion programs, and eliminate consent searches during stops – will be the foundation for the Sandra Bland Act.

From the Texas Tribune: The family of Sandra Bland — who died last year in a Waller County Jail cell — has reached a settlement with Texas officials in a wrongful death lawsuit, a lawyer for the family said Thursday.

Michael Stravato for the Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: Former Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Brian Encinia walked solemnly before a state district court judge Tuesday afternoon, and a few minutes later was out the door after pleading not guilty to a perjury charge stemming from his arrest of Sandra Bland last year.

Screenshot from Department of Public Safety dash cam video shows Sandra Bland as she exits her car after DPS officer Brian Encinia has drawn his taser on July 10, 2015.
Texas Department of Public Safety

Waller County grand jurors indicted Department of Public Safety trooper Brian Encinia on a single charge of perjury Wednesday because they did not believe he was telling the truth about his actions during the arrest of Sandra Bland, special prosecutor Darrell Jordan confirmed.

The charge against the lawman stems from the trooper's statement at the time of her arrest on July 10 about why he felt he needed to pull her out of her own vehicle, Jordan told The Texas Tribune. 

Photo via Bland's social media account

From Texas Standard:

In a highly anticipated decision earlier this week, the grand jury refused to issue any indictments related to the death of Sandra Bland.

Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old black woman, was arrested and charged with assaulting a public servant on July 10 in Prairie View, Texas. She had allegedly failed to use her turn signal while changing lanes and was pulled over. After her arrest, she went through intake and was booked into Waller County jail. Three days later she was found dead in her jail cell.

 


A Texas grand jury on Monday declined to indict anyone in connection with the July arrest and subsequent death of Sandra Bland.

Bland, 28, was pulled over by police in Waller County, Texas, in July for failing to signal a lane change. A confrontation between Bland and the officers followed. She was arrested and taken to the county jail, where three days later she was found dead in her cell.

KUT News

A female inmate in the Travis County Correctional Complex has died after being found unresponsive Monday in the shower. 

Investigators announced the death this morning. Autopsy results are pending, but investigators found no evidence of foul play.

No cause of death was immediately released for 40-year-old Athena Covarrubias. Roger Wade of the Travis County Sheriff’s Department says that officials aren’t ready to speak on what the cause of death might be, but suicide is still being considered among other possibilities. “There’s a list of possibilities, but detectives aren’t ready to pin it down to one thing until the [medical examiner]’s office makes a ruling,” Wade says.

Cody Duty/Houston Chronicle

From Texas Standard:

Sandra Bland’s case has made international headlines. But as the Houston Chronicle reported this week, Bland’s suicide is hardly a one-off incident in Texas county jails. Since 2009, 140 inmates in Texas jails have died by suicide; that’s when the state started tracking those numbers. Journalist Sinjin Smith has been following the issue for some time. His most recent article on this issue focuses on the methods and ways that inmates complete suicide in jail. He investigated the case of Danarian Hawkins, who was found last year hanging from a noose he’d made from a bed sheet tied to his cell’s sprinkler system.

Screenshot via Facebook video/1168639983152111

From Texas Standard:

As officials further investigate Sandra Bland’s case, the Standard continues to ask questions. Tuesday we talked about the legalities of the arrest itself. Here we look at mental health procedures for Texas inmates. This interview discusses suicide and provides some details of Bland’s death.

Miguel Gutierrez, Jr./KUT

Demonstrators gathered last night for a vigil remembering Sandra Bland in a march that ran from Victory Grill in East Austin and ended in a silent vigil at the Texas State Capitol. Bland was found dead in a Waller County jail cell on July 13 after being arrested for an altercation with police that stemmed from a traffic violation.

Her case has drawn national attention after her family suggested her death wasn’t the result of a suicide, though an autopsy report has suggested there was no evidence Bland’s death was a homicide.

Above you can view a photo gallery of the march through East Austin and the vigil at the Capitol.

Flickr/punchup (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

On July 10, 28-year-old Sandra Bland was arrested and charged with assaulting a public servant. She was taken to the Waller County Jail; three days later, she was found in her cell dead from what officials called suicide. Both the FBI and the Texas Rangers launched investigations trying to find out what happened.

Dashboard camera footage from Bland’s traffic stop was released on Tuesday.  (Note: The video was uploaded to YouTube Tuesday evening; it has since been taken down, after people pointed out errors and inconsistencies in the video, which led many to believe it had been edited. A DPS spokesman denied editing the video, and re-uploaded the footage without errors or omissions this afternoon.)

Sandra Bland Mourned From Illinois to Texas

Jul 20, 2015
Callie Richmond/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: Sandra Bland began her Facebook videos by greeting viewers as "kings and queens." Those close to her believe she truly meant it.

“She talks to us as kings and queens,” one of her sisters, Shavon Bland, said outside the family's church in Illinois on Sunday. “That’s how she went around the world speaking. From here to Chicago to Texas — wherever she went.”

On both ends of the path that marked Bland's 28-year life — the western suburbs of Chicago where she grew up, and the Texas town where she died — family, friends and supporters continued to raise questions Sunday about her startling death in the Waller County jail as they took time to remember, honor and reflect.

For more background information on the case of Sandra Bland, the Texas Tribune has coverage here, here and here.