Texas Grand Jury Returns No Indictments in Sandra Bland’s Death

A grand jury in the southern U.S. state of Texas decided Monday not to charge anyone in connection with the death of a woman who was arrested during a traffic stop and later died in jail.

Special prosecutor Darrell Jordan said that while no officers or jail staff were indicted, the panel will return next month to consider other aspects of the case.

A trooper pulled over 28-year-old Sandra Bland in July for failing to signal a lane change.  Their interaction, which was recorded by a dashcam, escalated into an argument with the trooper trying to pull her out of the car, then her exiting on her own as he pointed a stun gun at her and said, “I will light you up.”

Three days later she was found dead in her jail cell, hanging from an overhead partition.  Authorities say she killed herself.

Bland’s family has criticized the grand jury process and what they say is a lack of information sharing by authorities.  Their lawyer said Monday they were disappointed with the result.

Bland’s mother, Geneva Reed-Veal, has said the traffic stop was unwarranted and that her daughter should never have been in the jail cell.  She filed a civil lawsuit against the trooper who made the arrest, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the county and two jail employees.  A judge last week set that trial date for January 2017.

The death of Bland, a black woman, came at a time of increased national scrutiny of police after a series of high-profile cases in which blacks were killed by officers or died while in custody.  The cases have drawn protests in many cities and in a few instances charges against officers.

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