US woman found dead in jail `did not deserve` arrest: Texas senator
An African-American woman found dead in a Texas jailhouse after getting combative with a police officer during a routine traffic stop should not have been in custody, a state senator said Tuesday.
Texas: An African-American woman found dead in a Texas jailhouse after getting combative with a police officer during a routine traffic stop should not have been in custody, a state senator said Tuesday.
The death of 28-year-old Sandra Bland is being investigated as possibly suspicious, after authorities initially called her death on July 13 in Waller County jail an apparent suicide.
She is the latest in a number of African-Americans to die in confrontations with law enforcement officers, stretching back to the August 2014 death of black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
After seeing dash cam video of Bland`s arrest after a dispute following an alleged motoring offense, Texas state senator Royce West said she did not deserve to be taken into custody.
"After you see that video, I think you will agree with me that Sandra Bland did not deserve to be arrested," he told reporters after meeting Bland`s family.
"There`s a tragedy that happened here," said Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who also met with Bland`s kin.
"She lost her life in the jail, and that`s what we have to look at," he said.
Authorities claimed Bland was found dead, hanging by a plastic bag, three days after she was pulled over for failing a signal a lane change in her vehicle.
A resident of Illinois, she had returned to Texas for a job interview at Prairie View A&M University, from which she had graduated in 2009.
Family and friends said they had noticed nothing suicidal about her behavior, and that she was looking forward to a new job.
In an affidavit released Tuesday, the arresting Texas state trooper -- who has since been taken off patrol duty -- said Bland had kicked her, prompting him to use force to restrain her.
"I had Bland exit the vehicle to further conduct a safe traffic investigation," the trooper, Brian Encinia, 30, alleged.
"Bland became combative and uncooperative. Numerous commands were given to Bland ordering her to exit the vehicle," he said.
He went on to describe how Bland swung her elbows at him, kicked him in the right shin and "continued to fight back" when she was being held to the ground.
She was arrested and jailed in lieu of a $5,000 after being arrested for assaulting a public servant, according to court documents also released Tuesday.
Through their lawyer, Bland`s family -- awaiting the findings of an independent autopsy -- said her funeral would be held Saturday in Lisle, Illinois, west of Chicago.