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Attorneys Representing Police Misconduct Victims Across Texas

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Police Misconduct Attorney San Antonio – The Texas Senate Passes a Purportedly Weakened Sandra Bland Act – Part 2

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017
English: Photograph of the skyline of Downtown...

English: Photograph of the skyline of Downtown Houston, Texas Español: Una foto del panorama urbano de Downtown Houston Category:Images of Houston, Texas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Thursday, May 11, 2017, the Sandra Bland Act was unanimously passed by Texas Senators. The bill addresses criminal justice reform issues related to the death of Sandra Bland, who was found dead, hanging in a Waller County, Texas, jail cell three days after an arrest resulting from a routine traffic stop. An investigation was done, and her death was declared a suicide. The family is disheartened by the final wording in the bill, since it left out elements they think more meaningfully address the issues that resulted in Bland’s death.

The Black Lives Matter movement gained much of its national momentum after Sandra Bland’s 2015 death following a traffic stop near Houston, Texas, in which she was pulled over for not using her turn signals before changing lanes. Her confrontation with the police officer who requested that she put out her cigarette ended with her being pulled from her car by force and then getting into an off-dash-cam altercation with the officer, who arrested her. Although Bland’s death in the jail cell three days later was ruled a suicide, jail procedures have been called into question.

The reforms that Bland’s family hoped would be enacted in the Sandra Bland Act were cut from the bill before being approved by the Texas Senate. Bland’s sister said the bill as it is “renders Sandy invisible.” The family still wants the legislation to be named after her, however.

In its original form, the bill would have required a higher burden of proof for officers to stop and search automobiles, additional training and counseling for law enforcement officers who are perceived to racially profile motorists, and ban arrests for offenses punishable only by a fine.

See Part 1 of this two-part series, for more information.

–Guest Contributor

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