Bernie Sanders and Twitter Have Plenty to Say About the Non-Indictment of Sandra Bland

Bernie Sanders and Twitter Have Plenty to Say About the Non-Indictment of Sandra Bland
Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

A grand jury in Texas decided Monday not to proceed with charges against anyone in relation to the death of Sandra Bland. Bland was arrested by officers of the Waller County Sheriff's department after she was pulled over due to a failure to signal before changing lanes. The incident quickly escalated and Bland was ultimately taken from her vehicle and arrested. The full altercation was caught on camera

Bland spent a weekend in jail before being found dead, hanging in her cell, on July 13. Family members spoke of foul play, while a Harris County medical examiner ruled the death a suicide.

The non-indictment set Twitter to a boil Monday evening and into Tuesday, with many denouncing the justice system that arrested Bland in the first place. Leading the way was Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

"Sandra Bland should not have died while in police custody," Sanders said in a statement Tuesday. "There's no doubt in my mind that she, like too many African-Americans who die in police custody, would be alive today if she were a white woman. My thoughts are with her family and her loved ones tonight. We need to reform a very broken criminal justice system."

Others who followed Sanders' lead lacked the far-reaching platform of the Vermont senator, bur offered no lack of passion.

Regardless of the specific circumstances of Bland's death, she joins a long list of black women who have died while either in police custody or during confrontations with police. There was Miriam Carey, a 34-year-old dental hygienist who was fatally shot by law enforcement after making a wrong turn near the White House. There was Alberta Spruill, a 57-year-old woman who died after NYPD officers accidentally launched a stun grenade into her home. A 92-year-old woman, Kathryn Johnston, was killed during a drug raid gone horribly wrong. Alesia Thomas, 35, was kicked repeatedly by an LAPD officer and died.  

The failure to indict those involved in the Bland case also mirrors what has become the standard approach for alleged police misconduct. There were no charges for New York officer Daniel Pantaleo, who choked Eric Garner to death in broad daylight. The same went for Ferguson, Missouri, officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed the unarmed teenager Michael Brown. Indictments, when they happen, also do not guarantee convictions, as was the case last week when a hung jury resulted in a mistrial in for William Porter, the first of six officers on trial in connection to the death of Baltimore man Freddie Gray. City authorities have announced their intention to try Porter again

The full story of Sandra Bland, however, remains mysterious. Now, with the possibility for a trial closed, it is unlikely that people will get the answers they're seeking.


Get the five stories that will challenge you to rethink the world by signing up for MicCheck Daily.

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Jon Levine

Jon Levine is a staff writer at Mic, covering politics and people. He is based in New York and can be reached at JLevine@mic.com.

MORE FROM

Vatican shuts off historic fountains in the midst of devastating drought

Officials say it's the first time they can recall ever shutting off the Vatican's fountains.

‘Hot Mic’ podcast: Charlie Gard, human trafficking, Kushner denies collusion with Russia

What you need to know for Tuesday, July 25.

The last baby orca to be born at SeaWorld dies after serious health issues

Kyara was the last baby orca to be born into SeaWorld's controversial breeding program.

President Donald Trump turns Boy Scout Jamboree into campaign rally

The president discussed health care, Hillary Clinton, Obama, big yachts and more to 40,000 Boy Scouts and volunteers

This child kept HIV in remission for 8 years without drugs. Here’s what that really means.

More than eight years after his initial treatment, the child is still in remission.

Driver charged with human trafficking after 30-40 people found locked in fatally hot tractor-trailer

The charge against James Matthew Bradley, the alleged driver of the vehicle, could carry a punishment as severe as the death penalty.

Vatican shuts off historic fountains in the midst of devastating drought

Officials say it's the first time they can recall ever shutting off the Vatican's fountains.

‘Hot Mic’ podcast: Charlie Gard, human trafficking, Kushner denies collusion with Russia

What you need to know for Tuesday, July 25.

The last baby orca to be born at SeaWorld dies after serious health issues

Kyara was the last baby orca to be born into SeaWorld's controversial breeding program.

President Donald Trump turns Boy Scout Jamboree into campaign rally

The president discussed health care, Hillary Clinton, Obama, big yachts and more to 40,000 Boy Scouts and volunteers

This child kept HIV in remission for 8 years without drugs. Here’s what that really means.

More than eight years after his initial treatment, the child is still in remission.

Driver charged with human trafficking after 30-40 people found locked in fatally hot tractor-trailer

The charge against James Matthew Bradley, the alleged driver of the vehicle, could carry a punishment as severe as the death penalty.