Grand Jury Decides Not to Indict Anyone in the Jailhouse Death of Sandra Bland
A grand jury has decided not to indict any law enforcement officials in the death of Sandra Bland, who was found dead in her Texas jail cell after a traffic stop last summer.
The Walter County grand jury shared their decision after 11 hours of deliberations on Monday.
But they have not yet determined if the state trooper who arrested her should face charges. They will return in January to make the decision, according to prosecutors.
Bland, 28, was pulled over by trooper Brian Encinia on July 10 for allegedly failing to change lanes properly.
Dash cam footage released a week later showed Bland, who was black, refusing to get out of her car before Encinia held a stun gun and yelled at her: "Get out of the car! I will light you up!"
Encinia, who is white, has been on administrative duty since her death. Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw has said the 30-year-old trooper violated internal policies of professionalism and courtesy during the stop, the Associated Press reported.
Bland was taken to the county jail and failed to raise the $500 needed for bail. Three days later, she was found hanging in her cell.
Her death was ruled suicide, which her relatives questioned, saying she was looking forward to starting a new job and moving home.
To dispel rumors that she was dead when she arrived at jail, county authorities released video in July showing her walking into the facility unaided.
On Monday, the family's attorney, Cannon Lambert, said the grand jury's decision not to indict was consistent with a cover up by authorities.
"They continue to do things we are disappointed in," he said.
Bland's mother, Geneva Reed-Veal, called on authorities to release all footage and information they have surrounding her death. She has also filed a wrongful death lawsuit, which is set to go to trial in January 2017.
County officials have contended that she was treated well in jail. Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis has said there is nothing in their investigation "that shows anything happened but she killed herself."
Encinia has said he arrested Bland because she kicked him during the traffic stop, the Houston Chronicle reported.
He and DPS filed a motion in September in response to the family's suit, denying that they were "deliberately indifferent" to any serious harm to Bland.
It also says she was treated with "courtesy and respect" and "was provided benefits and accommodations beyond what the law and County policies required."