By: Kaelan Doolan ~Staff Writer~
It’s been a little over a year since Sandra Bland died under mysterious circumstances in a Texas jail. It was only in the past week, however, that the Bland family received any form of compensation.
The family settled in court for $1.9 million wrongful death lawsuit.
The case has people wondering why police were held financially accountable, but had not been punished legally.
The official cause of death was ruled a suicide, yet her family, activists and many others believe that something far more severe happened to her.
On July 15, 2015, Bland was pulled over for failing to use a turn signal. Dash cam footage showed the officer getting into a verbal argument with Bland after he had asked her to put out her cigarette. She refused to do so.
When the officer ordered her out of the car, she continued to protest on the grounds that she should be allowed to smoke in her car.
The officer then pulled Bland out of her car and slammed her onto the pavement and he threatened to taze her, saying “I will light you up!” She was later taken to jail and her body would be found hanging in her cell three days later.
The police had ruled her death a suicide, but that determination did not sit well with Bland’s family, who were adamant that she was not in any way suicidal. A Texas state report on her death stated that there should be a “visual, face-to-face observation of all inmates by jailers no less than once every 60 minutes.”
The guards took almost two hours to check on Bland. The apparent lack of concern by those patrolling the jail has been subject to public ridicule and scrutiny.
The Black Lives Matter movement led much of the criticism.
Since her death, there have been a plethora of theories about her death, including one that incriminates the police. However, her death appears to have not been in vain. Calls for legislation for proper procedures regarding booking, screening and other jail services have arisen. Her death, however, still baffles many who have obvserved the case.
The officer responsible for her arrest has since been released from his job. The exact cause of Bland’s death still remains unknown a year later.
Her cause of death was ruled as asphyxiation, and forensic studies have pointed to her death as a suicide.