It has been close to four months since Sandra Bland's name was added to the growing list of Blacks who died mysteriously after police encounters. The 28-year-old's death in a Waller County, Texas, jail cell upon moving to the area to begin a new job was in national headlines for weeks. Although Black Lives Matter activists and supporters of Bland have not forgotten her name, there have been new names and new videos showing police misconduct brought into focus since the day she was killed.
Bland's family is fighting to make sure the woman's case gets the attention it deserves. Her sister Sharon Cooper has penned an open letter on The Root to Attorney General Loretta Lynch asking for her to take action in Bland's case.
"Our confidence in the local investigation to date has been shaken by numerous inconsistencies," wrote Cooper. "Our family has been given limited information about the case, while Waller County, Texas, jailers have had unfettered access to the crime scene. Almost everything we know about what happened to my sister has come from the media, not the prosecutor’s office that is responsible for helping to ensure justice for my family."
On Friday, July 10, police stopped Bland in traffic for allegedly signaling a lane change improperly. A video captured by a bystander shows police using excessive force to arrest her. She was forced out of her vehicle and slammed onto the ground. On Monday, July 13, around 9 a.m., authorities found Bland unresponsive in her jail cell and performed CPR on her. She was pronounced dead shortly after. Police have claimed the incident was suicide, while her family does not believe she hanged herself.
"On behalf of my family, I ask you to take action. You have the power to bring together the necessary resources to find the truth and investigate Sandy’s death as well as the ongoing problems in Waller County and Texas that led to her death," Cooper wrote. "Unless you take action, it’s likely my family will be denied the justice we deserve and the people of Texas will be denied the change they deserve," she pleaded.
Read the full letter here.
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(Photo: Courtesy of Bland family/AP Photo)