Sandra Bland, an African-American woman from Texas in the United States, was found dead in her jail cell last Monday in an apparent suicide.
Bland had been arrested only three days before her death, which Texas officials are now investigating as a murder.
28-year-old Bland was arrested on the 10th of July after being pulled over by Texas police officer Brian Encinia for not indicating before changing lanes.
Dash-cam footage of Sandra Bland’s arrest was released by the Texas Department of Public Safety.
The situation escalates after Bland refuses to put out her cigarette or step out of the car for being arrested over a minor traffic breach.
Bland’s family doubts her suicide, saying she had only just moved to Texas for a new job, but demonstrators outside the jail where Bland have protested over what they see as the latest example of racism and use of excessive force by US law enforcement.
Steve McCraw, Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, called for support in requesting an FBI investigation into the death.
“First and foremost as it relates to the traffic stop, we have certain procedures in place and he did not comply with those procedures. Well one of the many procedures is letting the individual know in terms of what action is going to be taken… The officer has been removed from street duty and he is doing administrative duties at this point in time, he will not be going back to working the streets until a full investigation has been completed and a determination has been made at that point.”
“Black Lives Matter” protests have swept the nation following the 2013 shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, whose shooter was later cleared of all charges following a Grand Jury decision, but yesterday, Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick’s response signified a more concrete approach to the cause.
“There’s a tragedy that happened here. Regardless of who is at fault at the end. A young lady lost her life and that’s always a tragedy. Every life matters. So in Texas we’re going to take very careful steps so there’s no rush to judgment. Regarding the Grand Jury, we passed a bill this session signed by the Governor that no longer allows a judge to handpick a jury, to seek diversity. So this Grand Jury indeed will be selected to be sure there’s diversity on this Grand Jury, that’s the law we passed.”