A Texas grand jury has declined to hold anyone responsible for the death of Sandra Bland, the 28-year-old woman whose mysterious death inside of a Waller County, Texas jail cell sparked protests around the country and a heightened awareness of state-sanctioned violence against Black women.
Eyewitness News reports that, unless prosecutors attempt to move forward despite the grand jury’s decision, no one will face criminal charges connected with the case, including State Trooper Brian Encinia, who, on July 10, 2015, pulled Bland over for failure to signal when she switched lanes to move out of his way, before then escalating their encounter after Bland exercised her right not to put out a cigarette she was smoking in her car.
After threatened to “light her up” with a Tazer, Encinia violently pulling Bland from her vehicle and arrested her for resisting arrest as she struggled against his brutality.
If that sounds completely illogical, that’s because it is.
After failing to make her $500 bail, Bland was found hanging in her cell on July 13, 2015. Intense speculation surrounding the circumstances of her death swirled online, as her family and supporters across the country refused to believe Bland, who was traveling from Chicago to begin a new job at her alma mater, Prairie View A&M University in Texas, would commit suicide — an assertion that sparked a complicated discussion about Black women and mental health.
“After reviewing all the evidence in the death of Sandra Bland, a Waller grand jury did not return an indictment in the death of Bland, nor were any indictments returned against any employee of the Waller County Jail,” said Darrell Jordan, a special prosecutor handling the case, reports CNN.
The grand jury met for over eight hours on Monday. Just hours before their decision came down, Bland’s mother, Geneva Reed-Veal (pictured above middle), who has been an outspoken advocate for her daughter, voiced her concern about the handling of the case.
“It’s the secrecy of it all. I can’t even begin to tell you what’s going on because I, myself don’t know what’s going on, to not have my counsel be privy to any of this evidence that’s being presented,” Reed-Veal said.
“That’s what’s the hardest about this process, going through this Christmas season, yet again. We just passed Thanksgiving, and now we’re about to go Christmas, Sandy’s not here. And more than that, we still don’t have answers,” Reed-Veal continued.
As previously reported by Hello Beautiful, Reed-Veal was pursuing damages against the Texas Department of Public Safety, Encinia, Waller County and the two jailers that should have been monitoring Bland while she was in custody.
According to special prosecutor Lewis White, a thorough examination of the facts led to the decision.
“We got the information probably in September, so we’ve been doing a lot of meetings, a lot of review of the information during that time,” White said on Monday.
Bland’s family is not giving the fight.
“We are not going to allow what they have done in a limited, secret capacity to prevent us from doing what we need to do to get answers for the family,” Bland family attorney Cannon Lambert told CNN affiliate KPRC.
The grand jury will reconvene on January 6 to decide on misdemeanor matters related to the case.