The Latest: Bland’s mother doesn’t accept suicide finding
HEMPSTEAD, Texas (AP) — The latest on the investigation into the July arrest and death of a black woman, Sandra Bland, in a Texas jail cell (all times local):
The mother of Sandra Bland says she’s still not in a position to accept authorities’ word that her daughter killed herself in jail after a minor traffic stop turned into an angry confrontation between the black motorist and a white Texas state trooper.
Geneva Reed-Veal told The Associated Press on Tuesday that five months later, she still has not been provided with even the initial police report on the July 10 traffic stop or the 28-year-old’s death three days later.
Authorities say Bland hanged herself in her jail cell with a plastic bag.
On Monday, a grand jury decided that neither sheriff’s officials nor jailers committed a crime in the treatment of Bland.
Reed-Veal says that without seeing the Texas Rangers investigation into her daughter’s death, she cannot accept the finding that it was suicide.
The report has been withheld because it was grand jury evidence.
About two dozen people have gathered outside of a Texas courthouse to protest a grand jury’s refusal to indict any sheriff’s officials or jailers in the death of a Sandra Bland.
The event Tuesday in Hempstead was organized by Houston activist Deric Muhammad, who says he was disappointed but not surprised by the outcome.
Muhammad is calling for an economic boycott and a federal investigation of Waller County, which was where Bland was arrested in July during a contentious traffic stop. Her death three days later in the county jail was ruled a suicide.
Muhammad says he agrees with Bland’s relatives who said they didn’t expect much from a grand jury system.
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says Sandra Bland would not have died in police custody if she had been white.
The Vermont senator issued a brief statement Monday night after a Texas grand jury declined to indict any of the sheriff’s officials or jailers for their treatment of Bland, who was black. The 28-year-old Chicago-area woman died in her Waller County jail cell in what the medical examiner determined was a suicide.
Sanders, who was campaigning in Iowa, says the U.S. must reform “a very broken criminal justice system.”
The grand jury will reconvene in January to determine whether charges should be brought against the state trooper who stopped Bland on July 10 for a minor traffic infraction. The stop escalated into a confrontation that ended with Bland being forced to the ground and arrested for assaulting a public servant.
Bland’s family challenges the suicide ruling.