Resurfaced Video Of Sandra Bland Explaining Black Lives Matter Sparks Demand To Reopen Case
A petition to reopen Sandra Bland’s case is gaining serious traction after a video in which she discusses Black Lives Matter resurfaced, racking up millions of views.
The video of Bland, a 28-year-old black woman who was found dead in a Texas jail cell three days after being pulled over by a state trooper in 2015, has been circulating on Twitter amid recent protests against racial injustice across the world in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
In a years-old video that the activist filmed herself, she discussed the Black Lives Matter movement and how ‘in the news that we’ve seen as of late, you could stand there, surrender to the cops, and still be killed’. It’s prompted mass interest in her case, with a petition to reopen the investigation on its way to one billion signatures.
You can watch the video below. Warning: contains footage some viewers may find upsetting:
Double Down News recently posted the video to its Twitter feed, mixed with relevant footage and an addendum regarding Bland’s case and passing. Since being uploaded on June 1, it’s been viewed more than 6.3 million times.
Oscar-winning actress Patricia Arquette, star of Boyhood and True Romance, tweeted the video, writing: ‘EVERYONE NEEDS TO WATCH THIS. #SandraBland talks about why #BlackLivesMatter before she was harassed unnecessarily arrested, injured & murdered. Retweet.’
Anonymous also tweeted in support of reopening the case, writing on Twitter: ‘Sandra Bland was killed in police custody in 2015. We will never forget her. SAY HER NAME. Let’s get her case reopened.’
Bland, a vocal civil rights activist, was pulled over by Brian T. Encinia on July 10, 2015, after failing to signal a lane change. In a video that Bland filmed, the trooper quickly gets very aggressive, threatening to ‘yank’ her out the car, demanding that she stop filming and put her phone down, as well as pulling out a stun gun before threatening: ‘I will light you up.’
This video was only released to the public in 2019, which reignited public furor around the case as Bland’s family and supporters accused officials of concealing information in aid of a cover-up. Encinia was indicted on a count of perjury, however it was dismissed in exchange for leaving law enforcement – he faced no other charges, despite the excessive force displayed in the video.
Andre Segura, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, previously said in a statement:
Recording an officer is a constitutional right; not a crime warranting threats. This new video presents Ms Bland’s own view of the officer’s severe misconduct, including needlessly escalating the situation, misuse of a taser gun, and threatening language.
Most importantly, it shows that Ms. Bland was not engaging in dangerous behaviour. Sandra Bland should still be alive today. We must continue to hold agencies accountable to the very public they swore to protect.
After her arrest, Bland was placed in a housing area for women in Waller County Jail. Three days later, guards found her dead in her cell, with authorities ruling the death a suicide. Two of her jailers also left the Waller County Sheriff’s Office soon after.
Bland’s family had previously accepted a $1.9 million settlement as part of a wrongful death civil suit, however since the phone footage was released to the public they’ve been calling for a renewed investigation – wishes that are echoed by several Texas politicians.
As per The New York Times, Bland’s sister Shante Needham said last year: ‘Open up the case, period. We know they have an extremely, extremely good cover-up system.’
Bland’s case also inspired the 2017 Sandra Bland Act in Texas, which ‘requires de-escalation training for police officers… requires that independent law enforcement agencies investigate jail deaths’. In the fallout of Floyd’s death, lawmakers are hoping to introduce further police accountability laws in the near future.
During a recent impassioned speech at a Black Lives Matter event, Star Wars actor John Boyega referenced Bland, saying: ‘We don’t know what George Floyd could have achieved; we don’t know what Sandra Bland could have achieved.’
Over the past six days, a Change.org petition to reopen Bland’s case has reached more than 740 million signatures – and it’s rising all the time. You can sign the petition here.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Stop Hate UK by visiting their website www.stophateuk.org/talk
CreditsDouble Down News/Twitter and 3 others
Double Down News/Twitter
The New York Times
American Civil Liberties Union