A grand jury in Waller County, Tex. has declined to hand down any felony indictments in the jailhouse death of 28-year-old Sandra Bland this summer.
The grand jury, which met three times to review evidence in the case, was considering whether to indict any of the officers or jailers who may have encountered Bland from the time she was arrested on July 10 until her death three days later.
[dcquiz] Bland, a black woman who hailed from a Chicago suburb, was driving through the town of Prairie View, where she had recently landed a job, when she was pulled over Texas state trooper Brian Encinia for failing to signal a lane change. Dash cam video from the stop shows that the encounter between Encinia and Bland escalated and ended with Bland being arrested.
She was found dead in her jail cell on July 13. Investigators said Bland hanged herself with a plastic bag.
According to Houston’s ABC 13, the grand jury will convene next month to consider whether any misdemeanor charges will be handed down related to Bland’s arrest.
Many activists with the Black Lives Matter movement refused to believe that Bland killed herself, and many floated a number of conspiracy theories, including that she was actually dead in her mugshot.
Deray McKesson, a prominent Black Lives Matter leader, fanned the flames of some of those conspiracy theories, asserting on his widely-followed Twitter account that Bland was murdered. (RELATED: All Evidence Suggests That Sandra Bland Killed Herself, But Deray McKesson Continues To Claim She Was Murdered)
After being here in Waller County, I'm certain that they killed #SandraBland.
— deray mckesson (@deray) July 24, 2015
Hours before the grand jury declined to hand down indictments, Bland’s family held a press conference in Chicago to express frustration about the pace of the investigation.
“The timing of the grand jury, in my personal opinion, is disrespectful to the family and it continues to pour salt on a wound that has already been ripped open for the past five months,” said Sharon Cooper, Bland’s sister. “It prolongs the grieving process. And it is insulting.”
The Bland family has filed a wrongful death suit against Waller County. The trial for the federal case is set to begin Jan. 23, 2017, according to the Chicago Tribune.
“We feel like we have been shut out of this process from the very beginning. And we’re at the door, knocking, willing and waiting, and waiting for the door to open for the answers that we’ve asked for regardless of what they are.”