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Sandra Bland

US jail suicide victim

Died when: 28 years 156 days (341 months)
Star Sign: Aquarius

Sandra Bland was a 28-year-old African American woman who was killed by police in a jail cell in Waller County, Texas, on July 13, 2015, three days after being arrested during a pretextual traffic stop. Her death was ruled a suicide. It was followed by protests against her arrest, disputing the cause of death and alleging racial violence against her. Bland was pulled over for a traffic violation on July 10 by State Trooper Brian Encinia. The exchange escalated, resulting in Bland's arrest and a charge of assaulting a police officer. The arrest was partially recorded by Encinia's dashcam, a bystander's cell phone, and Bland's own cell phone. After authorities reviewed the dashcam footage, Encinia was placed on administrative leave for failing to follow proper traffic stop procedures. Texas authorities and the FBI conducted an investigation into Bland's death and determined the Waller County jail did not follow required policies, including time checks on inmates and ensuring that employees had completed required mental health training. In December 2015, a grand jury declined to indict the county sheriff and jail staff for a felony relating to Bland's death. The following month, Encinia was indicted for perjury for making false statements about the circumstances surrounding Bland's arrest, and he was subsequently fired by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). In September 2016, Bland's mother settled a wrongful death lawsuit against the county jail and police department for $1.9 million and some procedural changes. In June 2017, the perjury charge against Encinia was dropped in return for his agreement to permanently end his law enforcement career. In 2019, Bland's cell phone video became available to the public and to Bland's family for the first time. The video was obtained and shown by Dallas news station WFAA. This video was not available during the civil trials.
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