(Photo Credit: Jonathan Gibby/Getty Images)
Today, Sandra Bland was supposed to be celebrating her 30th birthday. Instead we are all left confused, angry, and without answers behind the death of Sandra Bland.
It all began as she was pulled over on July 10, 2005. Officer Brian Encinia arrested Bland as he claims she assaulted him. The rest became history.
Since that day, the nation has wondered what really happened to Sandra Bland. What made her commit suicide as the official record claims she did.
Looking back before the incident, Bland decided to become more vocal in social activism in 2015.
She created videos about issues that she felt was important. Bland wanted to bring more awareness to what she felt was a growing problem. Instead she became a face of the growing Black Lives Matter movement.
Bland had grown up just outside of Chicago, and on the day she was arrested was ready for a brand new experience with a new job at Prairie View A&M University where she had graduated.
Dashcam footage shows her on the ground, cutting off the altercation that got her there in the first place.
A report gives claims from LaVaughn Mosely on an alleged conversation the two had once she was booked.
“She was smoking when he pulled her over. Told her to put her cigarette out, she had an exchange of words, and it just went downhill. She said he snatched her out of the window and slammed her on her face.”
Bland was suffering from a form of PTSD and depression. She noted her issues in a Facebook video on March 1, 2015.
“I’m suffering from something that some of you all may be dealing with right now. It’s a little bit of depression, as well as PTSD. I’ve been really stressed out over these past couple of weeks, but that does not excuse me not keeping my promise to you all by letting you all know that somebody cares about you, somebody loves you, and that you can go out there and do great things.”
Hours before she would have been released she was found dead in the prison cell. The cause of death is officially through asphyxiation as a suicide – after reports claim that she used a garbage bag to hang herself.
Her death opened up the conversation surrounding mental health among African-Americans – a topic not normally talked about outloud around the community. If we learned one thing from this case it is to remember to check on those close to you, and question everything.
The state settled the wrongful-death lawsuit for a record $1.9 million. Waller County must now have a nurse or medical technician on sight at the jail during all shifts so something like this wouldn’t happen again.
The county denies any wrongdoing in Bland’s death, while officer Brian Encinia was indicted for perjury by a grand jury. He was fired in March of last year.
It also helped spark protests across the nation for months to come. The movement allows us to not forget those who passed away way before their time in the cases of injustice with the hashtag #SayHerName.
Two years after her passing, we continue to remember Bland as she can be our sister, our daughter, our friend.
RIP Sandra Bland.