In an interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, attorney general Loretta Lynch used Sandra Bland’s tragic death as a launch pad to discuss police training tactics.
Bland, who was found dead in a Texas jail cell earlier this month, was recorded being violently arrested three days before her death. Both police dash cam footage and a bystander’s video shows Officer Brian Encinia ordering Bland to exit her car, and later kneeling on her back while he handcuffs her. Lynch said that the footage highlights minorities’ fears of interacting with police officers.
“Many people see this situation escalating, and I think it shows the frustration that many minority communities feel when they feel that, you know, maybe it wouldn’t have escalated in a different community,” Lynch said. “I hope that that can bring this situation to light as well, so that people understand the frustration that many minority members feel when they’re stopped by the police.”
Since Lynch was confirmed in April, she has advocated for police reform. She spoke on the unrest in Baltimore shortly after Freddie Gray died, and she has advocated for universal police body cams and an overhaul in police training programs.
In the interview, which aired earlier today, Lynch said that she hopes that Bland’s death will jumpstart de-escalation training within law enforcement departments.
“Many of the things that we see police departments doing across the country, frankly, is working on exactly the type of techniques that would have been helpful here,” she said. “As part of my community policing tour, I’ve talked to officers who have said one of the things that they have appreciate most is training in de-escalation tactics to sort of get away from the classic ‘let’s just stop and arrest’ or ‘chase and arrest’ and figure out how we can calm a situation down.”