The “Sandra Bland Act” passed in Texas this month, but Bland’s family isn’t happy with the approved bill.
Bland’s sister and family spokeswoman, Sharon Cooper, said the family was disappointed in the bill, calling it a “complete oversight of the root causes of why she was jailed in the first place.”
Senate Bill 1849 was filed in 2015 after Bland was found dead in Texas’ Waller County Jail. The “Sandra Bland Act” requires county jails to send people with mental health issues and substance abuse concerns toward treatment and make it easier for people with mental illnesses or disabilities to receive a personal bond. The law also requires any jail deaths to be formally investigated by an independent law enforcement agency.
The Texas Senate passed the bill unanimously passed the bill last Thursday.
Several provisions from the original bill, including a provision requiring more steps to legally securing a consent search were eliminated by Senate Criminal Justice Chairman John Whitmire after immense criticism from police groups.
Sandra Bland was arrested by former Department of Public Safety Trooper Brian Encinia after she was stopped during a routine traffic stop for failing to signal a lane change. After a violent arrest on the part of the officer, she was charged with assaulting a public servant. The dash camera video doesn’t support the charge. Bland was discovered dead three days later and Encinia was later fired.
Bland’s death was ruled a suicide.
Cooper added that the bill could put civilians at risk and that Bland’s stop should not have gone beyond a citation.
“Finish the stop, and send the young woman on her way. Don’t prolong the stop because you’re not satisfied with what she’s saying.”
The revised bill heads back to the House where it has until May 29 to be signed into law.