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Sandra Bland Remembered On Fifth Anniversary Of Her Death

Source: Joshua Lott / Getty

Sandra Bland was only 28-years-old when she was found dead in her cell at Waller County Jail on July 13, 2015.

Now, on the seventh anniversary of her death, online users and media publications are still saying her name.

 

Her Story

On July 10, 2015 Texas trooper Brian Encinia pulled over Bland, a Black woman and Prairie View A&M alum. 

At the time, Bland was driving in from Illinois to Prarie View to start a job at the university. 

Encinia pulled over Bland for failing to signal a lane change, and things verbally escalated into a tense exchange wherein Bland’s cell phone and police dashcam footage detailed parts of the encounter.

While absent from the recordings, Encinia claimed Bland assaulted him.

What the footage did capture was the trooper threatening Bland with his taser because she didn’t want to get out of her car. 

A recording also showed Encinia knocking Bland to the ground and her stating that she had epilepsy.

The trooper arrested Bland on a charge of assaulting a police officer.

Days later, she was found dead by hanging in her cell at Waller County Jail on the morning of July 13.

The autopsy ruled her death a suicide.

RELATED CONTENT: “#JusticeForSandy: What Happened To Sandra Bland?”

 

Her Legacy

Bland’s story gained nationwide attention as many questioned, and still question, the circumstances surrounding her arrest and death.

Encinia was fired from his role as a trooper and indicted on a charge of perjury in 2016 “for allegedly lying in the report he filed after Bland’s arrest,” according to The Texas Tribune.

A state district judge dropped the perjury charge against Encinia in 2017.

That year, Gov. Greg Abbott signed the Sandra Bland Act into law, which mandates people with mental health and substance abuse issues are diverted from county jails toward treatment.

The law also “makes it easier for defendants to receive a personal bond if they have a mental illness or intellectual disability, and requires that independent law enforcement agencies investigate jail deaths,” The Texas Tribune detailed.

Bland’s legacy continues to serve as a powerful reminder why we have contemporary social justice and civil rights movements, including Black Lives Matter, Defund The Police and Say Her Name.

A memorial was placed in Prairie View only “yards away” from where Bland’s encounter with Encinia took place, KHOU 11 reported back in May.

As one user penned on social media today:

“Sandra Bland. She was one of us. What happened to her could have happened to any of us. That is why [we] must always say her name.”

 

See more tweets in Bland’s memory down below.

RELATED CONTENT: #JusticeForSandy: What Happened To Sandra Bland?

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