For Immediate Release
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167
Sandra Bland 'Suicide' After Minor Traffic Stop
WASHINGTON - ABC News is reporting: “Newly-emerged cell phone video shows the arrest of Sandra Bland, who died in custody Monday in Texas — as the woman’s family and authorities disagree about the manner of her death.
“Authorities said that Bland, 28, committed suicide, but her family isn’t buying it.
“A prosecutor said Thursday that he will present the findings of a Texas Rangers’ investigation to a grand jury. The FBI is also investigating the circumstances surrounding Bland’s death.”
CARLOS MILLER, carlosmiller at pinac.org
Miller is author of The Citizen Journalist Photography Handbook. He founded the website PhotographyIsNotACrime.com, which recently posted the piece “Texas Sheriff Tried Confiscating Camera During Violent Arrest of Sandra Bland, 48 Hours Later She Died.” The piece states: “At one point, Sandra Bland can be heard saying ‘I can’t feel my arm…You just slammed my head on the pavement. Don’t you not even care about that? I can’t even hear.’ Jail officials are claiming the 28-year-old college graduate, who was awaiting $500 bail and returning to her alma mater Prairie View A&M for a job committed suicide.” The piece cites this tweet about the death of James Harper Howell, IV — also at the Waller County Jail — under seemingly similar circumstances.
KERRY McLEAN, kerrymclean at gmail.com
McLean is a human rights lawyer and activist based in New York City. She said today: “The troubling, highly suspicious death of Sandra Bland is unfortunately all too familiar to African Americans. There have been instances of Blacks mysteriously dying while in police custody for generations. Sandra Bland’s death is a reminder for some that even if you are a woman, or upwardly mobile, ultimately all that matters to the police is your Blackness. Respectability will not save you. Even societal mores that men should be gentle with women are meaningless…’ain’t I a woman?’ Heartbreakingly, Black Twitter trended with the hashtag ‘#IfIDieInPoliceCustody,’ with people telling friends and loved ones that if they die after being seized by police, it was not suicide. That they never attacked the police. That their loved ones shouldn’t allow the media to malign the character of the deceased. That we should fight the powers that be in their memory. We need justice. For Sandra Bland, for Kindra Chapman, for Sheneque Proctor and so many more. We need an end to racist police violence.”
A nationwide consortium, the Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA) represents an unprecedented effort to bring other voices to the mass-media table often dominated by a few major think tanks. IPA works to broaden public discourse in mainstream media, while building communication with alternative media outlets and grassroots activists.