Sandra Bland Square
Sandra Bland Square

America Contemplates #IfIDieInPoliceCustody As More Details Of Sandra Bland's Death Emerge

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With more more details emerging around the tragic death of Sandra Bland, a Chicago woman who passed away after being taken into police custody following a Texas traffic stop, social media has once again become a forum for public grieving, outrage and riveting calls for justice. Bland was arrested on July 10th following a traffic stop, only to be found dead in her jail cell three days later. An active figure in today's Black Lives Matter movement, she reportedly refused to put out a cigarette after an officer demanded she do so. From there, dashcam video shows a cop dragging the woman out of her car.

Mashable reports that Bland was drug to the ground and handcuffed before ultimately being taken to the cell in which she would lose her life. Given the numerous unwarranted and poorly-explained deaths of so many untried black suspects in police custody, including the high-profile murder of Freddie Gray, activists and concerned onlookers have taken to social media, not only demanding that a full and just investigation be carried out in the case of Bland's death, but organizing around the #IfIDieInPoliceCustody hashtag, which began trending last week. The tag has become a deeply moving forum for black twitter users to leave last notes to their friends and family--an act that's tragically all too necessary so long as racially biased policing remains at large across the nation.

Many of the #IfIDieInPoliceCustody tweets assert that the incident would not have been a suicide, just as Bland's family told the Chicago Tribune that the 28-year-old woman would not have killed herself in jail. The New York Times reports that, according to a Waller County sheriff officer, Bland was found hanging in her cell by authorities three days after her arrest. A local district attorney in Texas has asserted that the investigation of Bland's death is proceeding as if it were an incident of murder.

“Someone’s child died; some young woman died that this family loves, and we owe them an explanation,” Texas Representative Sheila Jackson Lee Lee said in reference to Bland. “I cannot sense under the facts that I know now that a 28-year-old young woman, excited about a new job, posed a threat to anybody in Waller County, including any law enforcement officer.”

UPDATE: We now have the newly released police video.