ACLU Releases Letter To Waller County Sheriff’s Office Urging Accountability And Transparency For Sandra Bland’s Death

Affiliate: ACLU of Texas
July 21, 2015 9:00 am

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HOUSTON – Today, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas released a letter to the Waller County Sheriff’s Office related to the death of Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old black woman and civil rights activist who was stopped on July 10 by a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper for an alleged improper lane change, arrested and charged with assault on a public servant, and transported to the Waller County jail. Three days later, Bland was found in her cell “not breathing from what appears to be self-inflicted asphyxiation” according to a statement from the Waller County Sheriff’s Office.

“From its inception as a traffic stop to its tragic conclusion, there is so much about this incident that needs to be explained to the good people of Waller County,” said Terri Burke, executive director of the ACLU of Texas. “Given the county’s notorious history of disenfranchising black residents and of police practices that disproportionately impact communities of color, it is hardly surprising that county officials have lost the public’s trust. We are calling upon Sheriff Glenn Smith to rebuild that public trust by conducting a transparent investigation and holding responsible actors fully accountable.”

View the letter released today:

In 2013, the ACLU released a report showing that black residents of Waller County were more than six times more likely than white residents to be arrested for marijuana possession despite similar rates of usage. View the report: Marijuana in Black and White: Billions of Dollars Wasted on Racially Biased Arrests.

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