Three Days in Jail

The death of Sandra Bland


Black Lives Matter activist Sandra Bland was found dead in her jail cell in Waller County, Texas, in July, three days after being arrested during a traffic stop over her alleged failure to signal a lane change. The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) officer who pulled her over, Brian Encinia, accused Bland of resisting arrest. Dashcam video of the incident showed Encinia arresting her after she refused to put out a cigarette.

Authorities say Bland committed suicide, hanging herself using a garbage bag and privacy partition. Her family is skeptical of that, saying she had just traveled from her home in Illinois to Prairie View, Texas, to start a new job at a college there. Her death garnered national and international attention, with the DPS eventually placing Encinia on administrative duty for violating procedures and the department's "courtesy policy" but not saying what it was he did that was in violation.

In August, Bland's mother filed a federal lawsuit against Encinia, two jail employees, Waller County, and the DPS. She is claiming Encinia violated Bland's constitutional rights by arresting her without cause and that the jail failed to adequately monitor her.