Another Troubling Police Encounter with a Black Motorist

A few days late, but a story worth noting if it has escaped notice.

Gavel And Scales Of JusticeA few days late, but a story worth noting if it has escaped notice.

Via USAT:  Texas: Trooper in traffic stop violated policy

A trooper who pulled over and later arrested a woman found dead in her jail cell was put on desk duty Friday for violating procedures, the Texas Department of Public Safety said.

Sandra Bland, 28, was arrested July 10, and after spending the weekend in the Waller County jail, she was found hanged in her cell Monday. Harris County’s medical examiner said the death was a suicide, but Bland’s family disputes the finding.

The FBI has joined the Texas Rangers in investigating the circumstances surrounding her death. The state Public Safety Department and Waller County district attorney have requested that the FBI conduct a forensic analysis on video footage from the incident.

In arresting Bland, the trooper “violated the department’s procedures regarding traffic stops and the department’s courtesy policy,” state public safety officials said Friday without specifying what procedures the trooper, whose name has not been released, had violated.

In regards to the stop itself:

Bland had been pulled over in Prairie View, Texas, and previously state public safety officials had said she became argumentative and uncooperative so she was arrested on a charge of assaulting a public servant.

“She had become combative on the side of the road,” Waller County Sheriff Glenn Smith said.

Reports state that she was pulled over for failing to signal while changing lanes and was arrested for assaulting a public servant.  Dashboard camera video of the event has not yet been released, but video from a a bystander of part of the arrest can be found at CNN.  I will confess that full understanding of that video requites knowing what happened before its contents.

Eyewitnesses say the following (via the CSM):

How Bland ended up being thrown to the ground is unclear. Renee McKnight watched the arrest from a barbershop across the street.

“She was telling him to get his so-and-so hands off of her and jerking away from him,” said Ms. McKnight, according to KHOU-TV in Houston. She then saw Bland end up on the ground, but said she “couldn’t tell if he slammed her down there or it was a maneuver she did trying to stop him from putting her in the car that caused her to be put on the ground,” McKnight said.

“She was very, very upset,” McKnight added. “She wasn’t trying to get in that police car.”

Malcolm Jackson, a friend of Bland’s who witnessed the arrest, told ABC7 Chicago that the police were forceful from start to finish during the traffic stop.

Also:

Another of Bland’s friends, LaVaughn Mosely, told KHOU that she called him from jail on Friday night and gave her account of what happened.

“She was smoking when he pulled her over. Told her to put her cigarette out, she had an exchange of words, and it just went downhill. She said he snatched her out of the window and slammed her on her face,” he said.

In regards to her death (back to the USAT story):

Video shows Bland was alone in her cell before she died, he said.

But Elton Mathis, Waller County district attorney, said Friday that no cameras were in the jail cell where she was found dead. Cameras monitoring the hall outside her cell show no one entered or left it between the time she last spoke with deputies through an intercom system and when her body was discovered

“It appears she had used a trash bag to hang herself from a partition in the ceiling, which was used to give inmates privacy,” said Mathis, who also said Bland seems to have been the only female incarcerated in the jail at the time.

The Texas Commission on Jail Standards cited Waller County jail Thursday for not properly monitoring inmates but wouldn’t say whether its citation is related to Bland’s death. All inmates must be observed once every 60 minutes, and any inmate deemed suicidal must be observed in person every 30 minutes, Executive Director Brandon Wood said.

Smith said Thursday that jailers used an intercom to check on Bland less than an hour before she was found dead.

I don’t claim to know what happened apart from this:  being pulled over for not properly signalling (especially in what appears to be from the video a pretty low-traffic area) should not result in three days in prison (and yes, I know that the arrest was for whatever altercation erupted at that point).  At a minimum, police should be able to a) make a judgement as to whether the traffic stop is necessary, and b) keep a situation from escalating to the point that it did.  The degree to which police escalate these situations, or allow their pride to get in the way of their duties is a troubling piece of a lot of these stories (see, for example, the pool party incident in McKinney or the death of Eric Garner–plus others I am no doubt forgetting at the moment).

I do not know exactly what happened between the traffic stop and the escalation, nor do I know what happened in that jail cell–but the whole thing is beyond troubling, especially in the context of ongoing conflicts between police and African-Americans.

Two basic thoughts come to mind here.  First:  to what degree did Bland’s race come into play in terms of her getting pulled over in the first place?  Second:  should we not all be concerned about the degree to which that a traffic stop can lead to a verbal altercation that, in turn, leads to someone spending days in jail?

And, of course, we need more definitive information about her incarceration and death.

FILED UNDER: Crime, Police, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Rodney Dill says:

    This was just on a news type show. She had just called her sister and told her she had gotten a new job (and I think had just moved to the area). She had everything to live for, not a likely suicide. This will come out poorly for the law enforcement involved. I’ll have to see if I can find a link.

  2. Paul L. says:

    being pulled over for not properly signalling (especially in what appears to be from the video a pretty low-traffic area) should not result in three days in prison

    She got a “humble” for disrespecting the officer.

    Support the Federal Law Enforcement Bill of Rights.
    http://moonbatman.blogspot.com/2015/04/support-federal-law-enforcement-bill-of.html

  3. Michael says:

    Another lesson in when a police officer tells you to do something, you do it. Law and order folks always tell us to obey the police or suffer the consequences. I may be an old hippie, but I say, question authority.

  4. anjin-san says:

    I would say we have already moved beyond “Troubling”

    Sheriff of Texas town where Sandra Bland died was fired from previous job for racism

    The sheriff of the Texas town where 28-year-old Sandra Bland was pulled over by police for a traffic violation then “found dead” in a jail cell two days later lost his previous job amid charges of racism.

    A sharp-eyed Daily Kos user named Shaun King posted Houston Chronicle articles from 2008 that detail Waller County Sheriff Glenn Smith’s suspension for documented racism. Smith’s office released a statement on Tuesday alleging that Bland committed suicide in her cell.

    http://www.rawstory.com/2015/07/sheriff-in-town-where-sandra-bland-died-was-fired-from-previous-job-for-racism/

  5. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Paul L.: Frankly, I agree with you. We’re going to need to take a tougher stand on DWB or there will be more instances!

  6. Gustopher says:

    I really wish I had it in me to assume that the officer was acting properly, but time and time again we see that they were not. The ability for an officer to do their job, and issue a citation or warning without letting the situation escalate is really key to the job, and we need to be collecting metrics on it.

    Things need to change. The officers who are addressing people for resisting arrest at a higher rate than their peers need to be identified and given better oversight and training.

    Either that, of we will have more Baltimores and Fergusons.

  7. James Pearce says:

    @Rodney Dill:

    She had everything to live for, not a likely suicide.

    That may seem true from the outside looking in, but I think it’s likely that she did kill herself. The circumstances of her death make it hard to call it homicide. Whodunit? What’s the motive? Where’s the evidence?

    Many suicides are inexplicable, especially if they seem like they have “everything to live for.” But that’s applying rational thoughts to irrational emotions.

    That’s not to say Ms. Bland’s arrest passes muster. Seems to me that she was poorly treated throughout the ordeal, exacerbating already existing psychological issues, and in the darkest moment of her life, she said, “F@#$ it.”

    A tragedy and an outrage, yes. But a murder? I doubt it.

  8. rodney dill says:

    @James Pearce: Someone moves to a new area, with a new job, gets pulled over for a traffic violation, gets put in jail apparently just because she pissed off some officers during the stop. And then chooses that particular time to commit suicide?

    I don’t see any likely explanation other than murder. May be only the level of manslaughter, but still likely murder.

  9. Franklin says:

    @James Pearce: I’d basically agree, but the whole thing is bizarre. I feel like I’m missing a lot of information.

  10. al-Ameda says:

    Welcome to small town backwater America where police have nothing better to do than pull people over for this kind of thing. This entire incident deserves a thorough independent review and investigation.

    When it comes to law enforcement, small town America is not necessarily the idyllic Norman Rockwell-esque, Andy Griffith in Mayberry kind of place that Morning-in-America types would have you believe.

  11. James Pearce says:

    @rodney dill:

    And then chooses that particular time to commit suicide?

    I agree, the timing is strange, but consider this:

    The most dangerous thing for a suicidal person is a bad day. They’ll maintain and maintain and fight back and fight back, struggle so much that life becomes a struggle, and then here comes a particularly bad day and it’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

    I’d say that Ms. Bland had a particularly bad few days. (And the new city/new job stuff doesn’t really mean anything. Maybe sitting there in her cell it occurred to that it didn’t matter what she did for a living or where she lived, there would be no escape from her unhappiness.)

    And as I pointed out before, this is missing all the hallmarks of a murder. Why did they kill her? And they used a a plastic bag? Was it a guard? A cop? A janitor? A ghost? (The video tape shows no one entering or leaving her cell.)

    No motive, no suspects, no real weapon. (I imagine it would be very difficult to kill someone with a plastic bag. Easier, probably, to just strangle them with your hands if you’re that close.)

    It may, indeed, turn out to be murder, and if it does, I will be very, very surprised.

  12. Rafer Janders says:

    (and yes, I know that the arrest was for whatever altercation erupted at that point).

    No you don’t know that at all. You don’t even know that there was an altercation, other than the cop assaulting her. The arrest was most likely for “contempt of cop.”

    Because really, are we now supposed to believe that a slight 28 year old African-American is going to get out of her car to physically attack a larger, male, armed white policeman, for no good reason? In Texas? It’s laughable. It’s never happened in the history of mankind and will never happen.

  13. Rafer Janders says:

    @James Pearce:

    And as I pointed out before, this is missing all the hallmarks of a murder. Why did they kill her?

    Because she was a black woman who mouthed off to some good old boys. You need any more reason than that? That hasn’t been motive for murder thousands of times already in America?

  14. Rafer Janders says:

    @James Pearce:

    No motive,

    She pissed them off.

    no suspects,

    Everyone in that sheriff’s department, starting with the arresting officer.

    no real weapon.

    There’s a real weapon.

    (I imagine it would be very difficult to kill someone with a plastic bag.

    You imagine wrong. I could do it.

  15. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    I doubt that a cop would care if a white person faied to signal while changing lanes.

  16. James Pearce says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    She pissed them off.

    So they killed her three days later?

    Everyone in that sheriff’s department, starting with the arresting officer.

    No, that’s just suspicion. The same kind of suspicion that thinks every black dude on the corner is a gang banger.

    There’s a real weapon.

    Yes, a plastic bag. Some weapon.

    You imagine wrong. I could do it.

    No doubt it could be done. But would it?

    You’re so pissed at this lady that you’re going to suffocate her with a plastic bag and make it look like a suicide? Makes no sense at all.

    The suicide angle, as hard as it is to accept, actually has the benefit of making sense.

  17. Matt says:

    @anjin-san: It’s pretty typical for a cop that is fired for misconduct to be rehired down the road some…

    Probably should do something about that too.

  18. aFloridian says:

    @rodney dill:

    She apparently suffered from depression and going through some big life changes and maybe felt that the arrest would derail these plans? It’s not unthinkable is what I’m saying.

    Do I put it past police to murder someone in cold blood? Absolutely not, ex. 1 North Carolina. But so far here, I’m seeing a tragic case of suicide. I will reserve judgment until we have as much evidence as we can get, of course.

  19. anjin-san says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    are we now supposed to believe that a slight 28 year old African-American is going to get out of her car to physically attack a larger, male, armed white policeman, for no good reason?

    Sure we are. That black folks can go homicidal at the drop of a hat is part of the narrative. After all, Treyvon Martin went from being a kid on a candy run to a maniac gloating over the impending death of George Zimmermann in just a few minuets.

  20. Rafer Janders says:

    @James Pearce:

    You’re so pissed at this lady that you’re going to suffocate her with a plastic bag and make it look like a suicide? Makes no sense at all.

    You’re so pissed at Freddie Gray for riding a bicycle that you’re going to throw him in the back of a van and sever his spine? Makes no sense at all.

    You’re so pissed at Aber Louima for standing outside a nightclub that you’re going to take him into the bathroom of a police station and sodomize him with a plunger? Makes no sense at all.

    You’re so pissed at Floyd Dent for being a 57 year old black man driving a Cadillac that you’re going to drag him out of his car, beat him, electrocute him with a taser, and then plant a bag of crack cocaine in his car? Makes no sense at all.

    You’re so pissed at Walter Scott for driving with a suspended license that you’re going to shoot him in the back while he’s running away from you and then plant a weapon on him? Makes no sense at all.

    You’re so pissed at Freddie McCollum for driving without a front license plate that you follow him into his home and beat him so badly that he loses an eye? Makes no sense at all.

    It seems that when it comes to African-Americans, cops do things that make no sense at all all the time.

  21. Gustopher says:

    @Rafer Janders: I agree with James Pearce that this is most likely a suicide. But, we need an independent autopsy.

    I don’t trust the police, and their videotape of the hallway, not without some kind of corroborating evidence, and would be only moderately surprised if this turned out to be an accidental death at the hands of the cops covered up as a suicide.

  22. Matt says:

    @James Pearce: I consider the whole situation to be a very plausible anvil that broke the camels back. No telling what an arrest like this along with the 3 days in jail would do to someone’s personal life and finances. Combined with the stresses of being basically isolated for those 3 days…..

    An independent autopsy and investigation are needed.

  23. ElizaJane says:

    It has been reported that Bland had called her sister and told her that the police had broken her arm or her shoulder. How then did she hang herself? Seriously, try to do that with one working arm.

  24. James Pearce says:

    @Rafer Janders: Oh, trust me, I understand why you would suspect the cops had something to do with Ms. Bland’s death. But all the awful things that happened to other people do not explain what happened to her. Give her some credit for being a human being, not just another name to put on posters.

    As for the independent autopsy and investigation, sure, why not? And if it comes up with the same results, what then? Pitchforks?

  25. rodney dill says:

    @James Pearce: I see a lot of responses to your comments so I won’t address them all but there are a couple I want to comment further on.

    The most dangerous thing for a suicidal person is a bad day.

    It’s a huge jump to even suggest that Sandra was prone to suicide from the evidence so far. Even granting her comments on depression and PTSD. There would need to be a history of behavior to determine if she was bi-polar or otherwise suicidal.

    I imagine it would be very difficult to kill someone with a plastic bag. Easier, probably, to just strangle them with your hands if you’re that close.

    We aren’t stuck yet with the plastic bag as being a murder weapon, (or even the method of suicide). Until there is an autopsy we won’t know the specifics of how she died.

    The good thing in all this so far is that the FBI involvement provide should provide the opportunity for independent analysis of the forensic evidence.

  26. Tyrell says:

    @Michael: The best thing to do is remain silent. You don’t have to say anything.

  27. Rafer Janders says:

    @James Pearce:

    The most dangerous thing for a suicidal person is a bad day.

    Who says she was suicidal? Seriously, on what do you base this claim that she was actively suicidal?!?! There’s no evidence for that whatsoever — it’s a very serious claim that, as far as I can see, you’re just pulling out of your rear end. Who told you that she was suicidal?!?!

    The most charitable way to excuse this is due to an overactive imagination on your part , on letting your typing fingers get ahead of your brain — the least charitable is that it’s a flat-out libel.

  28. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @James Pearce:

    And as I pointed out before, this is missing all the hallmarks of a murder. Why did they kill her?

    Really? Why? Why did Dylan Roof kill 9 in Charleston? Why Adam Lanza kill 22? Why did James Holmes kill 8? Why did…. You can’t know the ‘why’ if you don’t know the ‘who’. There as many reasons for killing as there are people who kill.

    And they used a a plastic bag?

    This has puzzled me, a plastic bag? It makes even less sense as a tool of suicide than it does as a weapon of murder. To me this SCREAMS murder. Kill her, then freak out, then make it ‘look’ like suicide.

    Was it a guard?

    Maybe.

    A cop?

    Maybe.

    A janitor?

    Unliokely, but maybe.

    A ghost? (The video tape shows no one entering or leaving her cell.)

    You blindly accept an unanalyzed video? From the Dept headed by a known racist?

    No motive, no suspects, no real weapon. (I imagine it would be very difficult to kill someone with a plastic bag. Easier, probably, to just strangle them with your hands if you’re that close.)

    (head meets desk) Also, I love your diagnosis of depression with out any evidence for it what so ever. Your analysis is full of more holes than their story.

    I personally will await what comes out of the investigations, but I don’t have to be standing on a wharf to smell fish here. And I won’t be surprised in the least if nothing at all comes out of them because the system can be rigged for a desired result by the powers that be.

  29. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Tyrell: Obviously enough you have never been pulled over by the police. Silence is not an option.

  30. KM says:

    @rodney dill:

    It’s a huge jump to even suggest that Sandra was prone to suicide from the evidence so far. Even granting her comments on depression and PTSD. There would need to be a history of behavior to determine if she was bi-polar or otherwise suicidal.

    So true. It’s a nasty little myth that depressed always means potentially suicidal. It’s a common for people to say but a hell of an assumption to make. But it feeds into the narrative they’re trying to tell so…..

    I will say this though – times of transition (moving, new jobs, etc) are traditionally when a person is weakest psychologically. Old bonds have passed and new ones are yet to be solidified, leaving a person is a middling state that makes them more vulnerable then normal to outside pressures. You can become more volatile and unpredictable as you pass from one stage to another. Predators and cultists look for such people as they are easier to manipulate and break. It’s entirely possible that her shiny new future is a major reason why Bland reacted the way she did. This doesn’t make her depressed, though.

    We aren’t stuck yet with the plastic bag as being a murder weapon, (or even the method of suicide). Until there is an autopsy we won’t know the specifics of how she died.

    Yep. For instance, if she had some suspicious hand-shaped bruises around her neck, the ligature marks could have been intended to disguise them. A body still bruises for a while after it’s occupant vacates. If they needed to get the stink off fast, this might have been what they came up with on the fly.

    This could very well be a case of brutality they need to cover up. I don’t know one way or the other but I will say that sudden “suicides” in police custody have a nasty tendency to be “assisted” in some way. Investigation is needed and someone needs to pull up some records to see who else perished in policy custody ASAP.

  31. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    your diagnosis of depression with out any evidence for it what so ever.

    My apologies James. Evidently, once again things became known during my daily day long news black out.

  32. Rafer Janders says:

    @James Pearce:

    You’re so pissed at this lady that you’re going to suffocate her with a plastic bag and make it look like a suicide? Makes no sense at all.

    Uppity big city black girl mouths off to small town good old boy and he kills her in response? Yeah, that would never happen…. and certainly not in Texas.

  33. Rafer Janders says:

    @James Pearce:

    The most dangerous thing for a suicidal person is a bad day.

    Depressive does not equal suicidal. In any one year, about 15 million Americans, or about 7% of the population, suffer from depression. Meanwhile, in any one year the total number of suicides in America — for every reason, not just depression — is about 40,000.

  34. Rafer Janders says:

    The notion that a young black woman with a new job and a solid network of family and friends would, after being mistreated by the police on a minor traffic charge, commit suicide in a jail cell is an extraordinary claim that requires extraordinary evidence.

    The notion that a young black woman would be assaulted and murdered by the police while in their custody is, sadly, not an extraordinary claim at all.

  35. James Pearce says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    My apologies James.

    No worries. I don’t know what happened to Sandra Bland anymore than you guys. I just think there’s more info to support the suicide angle and, well, none to support the murder angle.

    I have to disagree with @Rafer Janders though:

    The most charitable way to excuse this is due to an overactive imagination on your part , on letting your typing fingers get ahead of your brain — the least charitable is that it’s a flat-out libel.

    I’m the one with the overactive imagination? I’m the libelous one?

    Me, who is not accusing, without a shred of evidence, the Sheriff’s department of Waller County and the medical examiner from Harris County of engaging in a conspiracy to murder a woman and then cover it up by making it look like a suicide?

    Just to diverge a little…maybe give you some insight into my actual thought process. Years ago, my cousin Vince committed suicide. He had his problems, but he had “everything to live for,” an infant son, a loving family, a promising future. And yet, they found his body hanging from a tree nonetheless.

    His mom refused to believe he could have done it. In her mind, she fashioned a conspiracy. Someone did this to him. There’s no way Vince would tie a dog chain around his neck. How could he get it so high up on the branch? He said he’d be right back…

    At any rate, this refusal to accept what happened to her son slowly drove my aunt insane. The rest of her life was marked by inconsolable grief and irreconcilable rage. Such is the legacy of suicide.

    That’s why I understand why Bland’s death, as a suicide, can be so baffling. Suicide is baffling. I can understand Bland’s family’s viewpoint, because I saw it in my own. It’s difficult to accept that your loved one took their own life. For some people, as I saw with my aunt, it’s impossible.

    So with all that said, I’m wiling to entertain the possibility that Bland was murdered. But the skeptic in me says, “Prove it.” Because to me…this sad story seems all too familiar. And not because it reminds me of a CSI episode.

  36. KM says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    The notion that a young black woman with a new job and a solid network of family and friends would, after being mistreated by the police on a minor traffic charge, commit suicide in a jail cell is an extraordinary claim that requires extraordinary evidence.

    Agreed. As I said earlier, the whole “new job/new life” thing is not necessarily the boon you might think – transition periods tend to lead to emotion instability. In this case, it’s usually positive in nature (giddiness, spurge shopping as a “reward”, over-excitement/confidence to the point of mania) but can lead to mood swings. This made have played a factor in the initial confrontation – feeling happy and secure enough to challenge the cop who was blatantly exceeding their authority to anger at how unfairly she was being treated.

    I can’t really see it swinging so far to suicidal, however, Not to mention that big of a change would have been apparent to any officer or person who observed her over the course of 3 days. This is not passing the sniff test; killing yourself in police custody would take a singularly negative mindset and attitude to engage in such a dramatic act, one that would have been observable over the course of days. If she wasn’t been watched as suicidal (they mentioned an hour since last observation via intercom when it would have been 30min otherwise) means nobody had marked her out as such. By their own procedures, they’re either unobservant as sh*t or this wasn’t an concern. Suicide is looking very questionable here.

  37. Rafer Janders says:

    @James Pearce:

    I’m the one with the overactive imagination? I’m the libelous one?

    Yes, you are. You called her suicidal. Once again, on what basis do you make that claim? Who told you she was actively suicidal? Did you read it in her journal? Do you have access to her doctor’s notes of their therapy sessions? Do you have records of a hospital stay for suicidal impulses? Do you know of previous suicides attempts in the days preceding this incident? Just where did you pull this claim from??? Produce some evidence.

  38. CSK says:

    Ms. Bland’s family has requested an independent autopsy, the results of which should be available in 24-48 hours.

    if she was manually strangled, her hyoid bone, larynx, and thyroid cartilage will be fractured. It is impossible to commit suicide by manual strangulation.

  39. James Pearce says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Depressive does not equal suicidal.

    This is no doubt true. And yet suicide is often preceded by depression. If you want to make the banal point that “correlation doesn’t mean causation,” okay, point taken.

    But where’s the beef? You say there was a murder. What, besides your general suspicion of the police, do you have to back that up?

    The notion that a young black woman would be assaulted and murdered by the police while in their custody is, sadly, not an extraordinary claim at all.

    Even as an ordinary claim, it should have some reasoning behind it.

    As in “a reason to believe this thing I believe.” And, no, Rafer, “Cops kills black people all the time” is not a reason to believe they killed Sandra Bland.

  40. Rafer Janders says:

    @James Pearce:

    Me, who is not accusing, without a shred of evidence, the Sheriff’s department of Waller County and the medical examiner from Harris County of engaging in a conspiracy to murder a woman and then cover it up by making it look like a suicide?

    Do the police in the US, and especially in the South, have a frequent and well-known history of murdering African-Americans in their custody and then covering up those murders? Yes or no?

  41. KM says:

    @James Pearce :

    So sorry for your loss and for your aunt’s pain. Loved ones can go to great lengths to come up with reasons why ugly reality cannot be true. We hurt ourselves deeply to avoid a different pain.

    I understand your logic and your point of view. It might very well be the answer to this conundrum. The thing is however, that giving the police the benefit of the doubt is very very hard when they’re already been proven to be untrustworthy. History and their own actions are not on their side – CSI-ish as it may be, but there’s a reason many of these stories exists and some are ripped right out of the headlines. There have been a lot of deaths lately at the hands of law enforcement that lead one to naturally ask if it’s happened again. It’s an odd story and oddities invite speculation.

    Do I think she was intentionally murdered? No. If anything nefarious happened, it was because things got out of hand and she paid the price. Given the recent press, I would imagine panic ensued and then brilliant sumbitch decided to try and cover it up. I can easily see a scenario where push came to shove and shove ended up dead. I can also see an scenario where Bland couldn’t take the humiliation, the injustice and just plain ^$@^#&@& of what happened on top of whatever else was going on and decided to end it. I favor the first statement. It’s just I have no faith in the police anymore and quite frankly, they’ve already got several strikes against them in the honesty dept. She died in their custody (where she shouldn’t have been in the first place!) and it’s up to them to show why that was allowed to happen. Either way, they are most definitely at fault and are the reason why she is dead.

  42. superdestroyer says:

    @KM:

    I have proposed many times that progressives are in favor of depolicing, no snitching, and for some reason want an increase in the crime rate in the U.S. I will use your post as proof that progressives have those positions. If you believe that everything is a conspiracy among law enforcement, then you must want law enforcement to go away since there is no way they can overcome your belief system.

  43. James Pearce says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Once again, on what basis do you make that claim?

    Here is the basis on which I make that claim:

    The Harris County ME ruled her death a suicide. It has been reported that she suffered from depression and PTSD. What more do I need? That she was founding hanging in her cell, asphyxiated by a plastic bag? (Which, I should add, is a common method of suicide, but a difficult, not to mention absurd, way to murder someone.)

    What do you have to back up your claim? Have any suspects? Have you worked out how they killed her, staged the killing to look like a suicide, and managed not to screw it up so that the ME in the next county over actually bought it? These are some master criminals. Not only did they come up with a genius plan; they executed it perfectly, only to be foiled by you, I guess.

    And frankly, I have to say….I care very much about police mistreatment. And I think we’d be better off decrying the horrible treatment that led to Sandra Bland committing suicide in her cell than we are indulging conspiracy theories about how she was murdered by rogue racist cops.

  44. James Pearce says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Do the police in the US, and especially in the South, have a frequent and well-known history of murdering African-Americans in their custody and then covering up those murders? Yes or no?

    Yes, this has happened. What is your basis for believing it happened here? Be specific.

    Because it seems to me that using the same sort of logic, a racist cop could say, “Black people have a frequent and well-known history of being criminals. This black person must be a criminal.”

    It’s not thinking, man. It’s the absence of thinking.

  45. James Pearce says:

    @KM: Thank you for the kind words. And I agree (mostly) with this.

    She died in their custody (where she shouldn’t have been in the first place!) and it’s up to them to show why that was allowed to happen. Either way, they are most definitely at fault and are the reason why she is dead.

  46. KM says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Jesus, you make my brain hurt. How can so much stupid be jammed into one place?

    Fact: A woman is dead who shouldn’t be.
    Fact: The police are responsible for her safety while she was in custody
    Fact: They are responsible for her death via direct or indirection actions or lack of them.

    This is not a conspiracy, it’s a legal obligation they have failed to meet. You know, truth? They done F-ed up royal, super. The only question is did they F-up by not supervising her properly or because they did something and she died because of it.

  47. Rafer Janders says:

    @James Pearce:

    The Harris County ME ruled her death a suicide. It has been reported that she suffered from depression and PTSD. What more do I need?

    You need a hell of a lot more, since that’s a classic post hoc, ergo propter hoc logical fallacy. The police said her death was a suicide, therefore she was suicidal, therefore since she was suicidal we can conclude she committed suicide? That is, not to put a fine point on it, stupid.

    Also, too: an autopsy can only determine the manner of death, i.e. death by hanging. It cannot conclusively determine if that hanging was suicidal or homicidal.

  48. James Pearce says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    The police said her death was a suicide, therefore she was suicidal, therefore since she was suicidal we can conclude she committed suicide? That is, not to put a fine point on it, stupid.

    No, what’s stupid is questioning their findings, well…just because. What makes you think the ME in Harris County got it wrong?

    It cannot conclusively determine if that hanging was suicidal or homicidal.

    9 times out of 10, hanging will be suicidal.

  49. superdestroyer says:

    @KM:

    I believe there are numerous court rulings that show that the jail keepers are not responsbile for the actions of prisoners to themselves or to other prisoners. Why do you think the Supreme Court ruled that jailers were wrong when they separated white and black prisoners. cite

    If law enforcement cannot be believed, there is actually no reason for law enforcement to exist. I guess the blacks will be happy when the highway system resembles The Road Warrior movies because at least they will not be profiled.

  50. Barry says:

    @Paul L.: “Support the Federal Law Enforcement Bill of Rights.”

    Where ‘bill of rights’ means ‘exemption from the law’.

  51. Barry says:

    @James Pearce: “That may seem true from the outside looking in, but I think it’s likely that she did kill herself. The circumstances of her death make it hard to call it homicide. Whodunit? What’s the motive? Where’s the evidence?”

    The police.

    Motive – for the heck of it.

    Evidence – she’s dead, and in their custody. The burden of proof is on them.

  52. Barry says:

    @James Pearce: “So they killed her three days later?”

    Yes. Third-party video came out, and outsiders starting poking their noses in. They realized that what was an ordinary f*cking over of somebody was going to have bad consequences, and panicked.

  53. KM says:

    @James Pearce:

    You’re welcome 🙂

    I would quibble with this:

    The Harris County ME ruled her death a suicide.

    ME’s labeling supcicious deaths in lockups as default suicides is nothing new. Erie county in Upstate NY has a real problem with this. Every death was marked suicide regardless of whether it actually was (think there was a medical issue in there that was mis-classified). ME’s can and do make mistakes – that’s why we double-check.

  54. Barry says:

    @James Pearce: “Give her some credit for being a human being, not just another name to put on posters.”

    Pretty disgusting, to invoke somebody ‘being a human being’, to argue in favor of treating their death in custody with anything less than severe scrutiny.

  55. Barry says:

    @James Pearce: “The Harris County ME ruled her death a suicide. ”

    The county f*cking ME, who works with the police, prosecutors and judges, ruled her death as a suicide?

    that’s not evidence at all.

  56. James Pearce says:

    @Barry:

    Pretty disgusting, to invoke somebody ‘being a human being’, to argue in favor of treating their death in custody with anything less than severe scrutiny.

    Show me where I argued for treating her death without scrutiny. I even joined in on calls for an independent autopsy and investigation.

    Like it would matter with this attitude:

    “The county f*cking ME, who works with the police, prosecutors and judges, ruled her death as a suicide?

    that’s not evidence at all.”

  57. James Pearce says:

    @KM:

    ME’s labeling supcicious deaths in lockups as default suicides is nothing new.

    Agreed, and this is why I understand the suspicion, even if I don’t agree with it.

    It comes back to what I said before. The horrible things that happened to other people do not explain what happened to Sandra Bland. Shouldn’t we examine this incident on its merits, without allowing our thinking to be clouded by unrelated, but similar, things that have occurred elsewhere at other times involving different people?

  58. Frank says:

    Medical n00b here, but could it be possible she died from injuries gained during her arrest? It’s a long time for complications to arise, but maybe some initial damage was done then?

  59. PogueMahone says:

    The biggest question for me is the plastic bag.
    What kind of bag are we talking about? A 35 gallon Hefty lawn and garden? A 5 gallon kitchen bag?

    And why is there even a plastic bag in the cell in the first place? The inmates don’t have garbage bags because they don’t have garbage. There’s no reason for there to be a plastic bag in the first place–so how did she get it?

    And the prosecutor? I live in an adjacent county and I have had a professional relationship with him… he’s nothing but a cheap suit and a pair of sh!t-kickers. And a known racist.
    I wouldn’t trust anything he says at all.

  60. James Pearce says:

    @Frank:

    It’s a long time for complications to arise, but maybe some initial damage was done then?

    That’s reasonable speculation.

    But it brings me to this thought: We’re all talking in terms of maybes. “Maybe the cops killed her.” “Maybe the ME got it wrong.”

    Missing, though, is “Maybe she did kill herself.” This apparently is outside the realm of possibility to some people, and insulting to boot.

  61. LaMont says:

    @James Pearce:

    Shouldn’t we examine this incident on its merits, without allowing our thinking to be clouded by unrelated, but similar, things that have occurred elsewhere at other times involving different people?

    While I certainly understand your perspective – absolutely not! As each one of these incidences occur it has become quite clear that the “merits” can be manufactured to fit a narrative. This incident as well as others did not happen in a vacuum. Therefore, given the context of the environment surrounding these types of incidences, any detective worth their weight in gold would and should investigate it leaving no table unturned. In light of what we now know about police behavior with the African American community, though African Americans understood this for 100s of years, it is simply not enough to be suspicious without acting on the suspicion.

  62. Franklin says:

    More speculation, but one other thing occurred to me that hasn’t been discussed much. Could the bump on her head from the initial altercation affected her thinking or emotional state? For example, maybe just a dull headache from a slight concussion could push a person with depression over the edge.

  63. stonetools says:

    It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.’

    Sherlock Holmes Quote

    -A Scandal in Bohemia

    I think what we are doing here is what Sherlock said we shouldn’t do. Fortunately, the FBI is now involved and we should wait till the results of the FBI investigation. That said, I suspect Rafer will be proved right.

  64. LaMont says:

    @stonetools:

    I think we first have to undstand what the actual facts are. In my opinion, given the sensitivity of this occurence, any information coming out of the police department can not be held as facts at this point of the investigation.

  65. James Pearce says:

    @LaMont:

    In light of what we now know about police behavior with the African American community, though African Americans understood this for 100s of years, it is simply not enough to be suspicious without acting on the suspicion.

    If you think I’m not getting this part, let me assure you: I get it.

    I just find it unpersuasive. As unpersuasive as when George Zimmerman that Trayvon Martin was up to no good because he was black, wearing a hoodie, and in the wrong neighborhood.

    It’s s the same logic, just pointed in a different direction.

  66. James Pearce says:

    @LaMont:

    I think we first have to undstand what the actual facts are.

    How are you going to do that when “any information coming out of the police department can not be held as facts.”

    You don’t want the facts. You want a narrative. And if the facts don’t fit the narrative, it’s not the narrative that gets thrown out.

  67. Ken says:

    @superdestroyer: I believe there are numerous court rulings that show that the jail keepers are not responsbile for the actions of prisoners to themselves

    You believe a lot of things that are factually wrong. This is among them

  68. superdestroyer says:

    @Ken:

    I provided a cite that showed that the Supreme Court ruled that prisoner safety was less important that being politically correct. If that is wrong, please cite the law or the case where jailers would be able to keep prisoners under 24 hour video surveillance.

  69. Grewgills says:

    @James Pearce:

    How are you going to do that when “any information coming out of the police department can not be held as facts.”

    We don’t have to trust the police department if we trust the independent investigators that look into the police departments claims. We know that the whole incident looks fishy and in any case whenever someone dies in police custody there needs to be an outside investigation regardless of the victim.

  70. KM says:

    @Superdestroyer:

    I provided a cite that showed that the Supreme Court ruled that prisoner safety was less important that being politically correct.

    Other then your pointless little crusade, how in the hell is that supposed to be relevant to this specific case? Was she sharing a cell with someone? If so, where is this witness? If anything, she would have been segregated because of her gender (she was the only female there at the time). The speculation here is that violence was visited upon her by herself or her jailers, not some mythical different-raced 3rd party. You can’t even use your usual rant here but by God man, you gave it your best.

    And she was in a local lockup, not prison. Not a lawyer but I’d bet that makes a difference. Can an actual lawyer or other knowledgeable person weigh in on this, please? Is there a substantive difference in legal observation requirements and procedures in the local sin bin versus the big-time hoosegow?

  71. LaMont says:

    @James Pearce:

    It’s s the same logic, just pointed in a different direction.

    That statement speaks to the fact that we all stereo-type each other in one form or another. Yes, it does occur in both directions. However, when it comes to an investigation, it is incumbent on the investigator to leave no table unturned. Again, given the environment of these types of events, I would fully expect investigators to do their due diligence for any element of racism and/or conspiracy. If nothing comes of it then that is the end of it. That is the only way that an investigator can truly say that there is no evidence of anything related to racism or conspiracy from the police department. If the job of an investigator is to rule out multiple motives this should be pretty high on the list of things to rule out first. What I am getting from your series of comments is that this element should not be considered in the investigation at all. You have to be very careful if you believe that because that line of thought is exactly how many officers are let off the hook.

  72. Rafer Janders says:

    @KM:

    Can an actual lawyer or other knowledgeable person weigh in on this, please? Is there a substantive difference in legal observation requirements and procedures in the local sin bin versus the big-time hoosegow?

    Yes, of course. For one thing, people in local lock-ups are presumed innocent and have not been convicted of any crime. They are merely being held on suspicion. Prisoners in prison, by contrast, have been convicted.

  73. LaMont says:

    @James Pearce:

    How are you going to do that when “any information coming out of the police department can not be held as facts.”

    What Grewgills: said.

    Further, a proper independent investigation should include, but are not limited to, the following questions;

    Was the recorded video from the police station tampered with?
    Is there more than one access point to the cell?
    Does the timing of events from the independent investigation line of with what is on the police report?

    I don’t think these are far fetched questions. Of course, that would have to mean that information from the police department can not be included as facts but only information gathered as part of the investigation.

    Asking these simple questions

  74. James Pearce says:

    @superdestroyer: I hope to God you’re not the one giving me upvotes.

    @Grewgills:

    We know that the whole incident looks fishy and in any case whenever someone dies in police custody there needs to be an outside investigation regardless of the victim.

    I totally agree.

    And if that outside investigation finds for suicide, I do not expect and do not need an apology.

  75. LaMont says:

    @James Pearce:

    @superdestroyer: I hope to God you’re not the one giving me upvotes.

    Now that’s funny!

    I don’t think anyone thinks that there is no way she committed suicide. All we’re saying is, the situation looks fishy and it should probably be investigated accordingly. I for one, would not be surprised if it is a suicide. I would also not be surprised if it were a homicide made to look like a suicide. Sad but true.

  76. stonetools says:

    @James Pearce:

    Lamont was probably referring to stuff like this:

    Police claimed that Bland was “argumentative and uncooperative” during the encounter and assaulted the trooper, who has been placed on administrative leave, but the attorney said dashboard camera does not show the attack.

    “We have new footage that has been released and in that video cam that has been released there is not one shot, not one scene of where Ms. Bland ever assaulted police,” said Rev. Jamal Bryant, pastor of Empowerment Temple in Baltimore.

    Unlike many, I am quite prepared to believe that the local police department is manufacturing its own facts in this case, especially since the sheriff is a known racist.

  77. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    What kind of a country allows people to die because of failing to signal changing lanes?

  78. EddieInCA says:

    Plastic Bag….

    What’s a plastic bag – any sort of plastic bag – doing in a holding cell?

    What trash does a woman….

    ….alone in a cell…

    ….create?

    What’s the need for a plastic trash bag in a cell with one woman inside?

    Why is there a plastic trash bag in a cell? Is there a trash can? If so, why? Someone could assault someone with a trash can?

    Unfortunately, I’ve been locked up a few times. Once for a two days at LA County. They made us take the shoelaces off our shoes while in custody, and you sure as hell couldn’t get a belt in there. The trash “can” in that cell was a flimsy cardboard box.

    Trash bag? Why?

  79. superdestroyer says:

    @KM:

    According to media reports, she was the only female inmate at the county jail after being arrested by the Texas Department of Public Safety (Highway Patrol). The media has also reported that there was video monitoring of the passage way in front of the cell.

    So, for all of the conspiracy to work, the county sheriffs and his dupties wold have to be willing to murder a prisoner as part of a cover up along with the Department of Public Safety. That the Sheriff Department manged to fake the video so as not to show the murders and to hide the fact from a medical examiner in another county.

    I thought progressives were the fact oriented, reality -based types but seem to just love conspiracy theories and bad statistics.

  80. Barry says:

    @James Pearce: “Like it would matter with this attitude:”

    Me: “The county f*cking ME, who works with the police, prosecutors and judges, ruled her death as a suicide? that’s not evidence at all.”

    You have a problem with that? Do you think that an ME who works with the police and prosecutors is at all trustworthy?

  81. Barry says:

    @James Pearce: “But it brings me to this thought: We’re all talking in terms of maybes. “Maybe the cops killed her.” “Maybe the ME got it wrong.””

    The police held her in custody, and she’s dead. Those are two maybes.

  82. Barry says:

    @James Pearce: “How are you going to do that when “any information coming out of the police department can not be held as facts.””

    Get outsiders to go in, and investigate.

  83. Barry says:

    @stonetools: “Unlike many, I am quite prepared to believe that the local police department is manufacturing its own facts in this case, especially since the sheriff is a known racist. ”

    This. The fact that this county/department has that guy in charge is strong evidence against them.

  84. James Pearce says:

    @LaMont:

    I don’t think anyone thinks that there is no way she committed suicide.

    That was not the impression I got.

    Rodney Dill: “I don’t see any likely explanation other than murder.”

    OzarkHillbilly: “To me this SCREAMS murder.”

    And then the whole back and forth with Rafer Janders.

    That’s alright, though. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong.

  85. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @superdestroyer: Or, if law enforcement cannot be believed, it is time to do something to restore the public’s faith in law enforcement.

    No need to throw out the baby, only the bathwater.

    And (to stop you from asking) frankly, I DON’T know what the police can do to restore the faith of the segment of the public that lacks faith.

  86. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:

    But I think a good place to start is by asking whether the scenario below is part of the problem or part of the solution:

    In the print version of the story, the officer is quoted as saying, “Last week, there was a guy in a car who wouldn’t show me his hands. I pulled my gun out and stuck it right in his nose, and I go, ‘Show me your hands now!’ That’s de-escalation.”

    Is this the guy you really want to sent to a nationwide conference on improving relations with the public?

    http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/2-spd-officers-under-internal-review-over-video-comments/

  87. Rafer Janders says:

    @James Pearce:

    And then the whole back and forth with Rafer Janders.

    It is certainly possible she committed suicide.

    it is also possible I had sex with Sofia Vergara this year.

    Neither, however, rise to a level of strong probability, and any claims asserting so have to be assiduously investigated against a backdrop of heightened suspicion.

  88. bill says:

    @Rodney Dill: yes, they left out the video she made complaining of depression/ptsd……google it. also, there’s video in the jail of nobody entering/leaving her cell during the time she hanged herself. but don’t let facts get in the way of a good race baiting saga.
    here’s another one the media missed too;

    http://news.yahoo.com/black-mississippi-flag-supporter-dies-traffic-accident-130939918.html

  89. Rodney Dill says:

    @James Pearce: Yes, I think suicide is unlikely.

  90. @bill: You just did one of my favorite maneuvers: asserting that the media is not reporting on a story and then, to prove your point, you use, wait for it…..the media!

    Well played.

  91. rodney dill says:

    @bill: I’d already seen the video before my comments started. I didn’t think the calm demeanor of her views that she suffered from depression or PTSD was sufficient evidence of suicidal tendencies. It certainly represents a lead that needs to be looked into, but not enough evidence in itself.

  92. bill says:

    @Rodney Dill: yes, they left out the video she made complaining of depression/ptsd……google it. also, there’s video in the jail of nobody entering/leaving her cell during the time she hanged herself. but don’t let facts get in the way of a good race baiting saga.
    here’s another one the media missed too;

    http://news.yahoo.com/black-mississippi-flag-supporter-dies-traffic-accident-130939918.html

  93. James Pearce says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Neither, however, rise to a level of strong probability, and any claims asserting so have to be assiduously investigated against a backdrop of heightened suspicion.

    The results of the 2nd autopsy, which was conducted yesterday, will be released tomorrow.

    And then rather than talking about whether it was murder or suicide, we can talk about why she was treated so poorly.

  94. bill says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: there’s “throwing gas on the fire” type of reporting and there’s “put it on page 18” type. don’t play naive.

    @rodney dill: yes, and who cares about this if she’s a crazy white chick? and the video that shows nothing out of the ordinary? of course you can always find somebody carrying on whenever they get pulled over by the cops…..especially those who choose to go to “all black” colleges….she must not like white folks?
    but then again, these stories usually yield nothing – just rile up the usual losers who go batshit crazy and then disappear when they’ve been proven “wrong”.

  95. James Pearce says:

    @Rodney Dill:

    Yes, I think suicide is unlikely.

    I present to you, then, the tale of Bill Sparkman.

    (I went by Herb back then. Just look for the big belly and beautiful tan.)

  96. @bill: Dude, you can’t claim the mainstream press isn’t covering a story and then use an A freakin’ P story as evidence.

    How else did you hear about it save via “the media”?

  97. James Pearce says:

    @bill: Jesus Christ, Bill. Don’t be upvoting my comments either.

    I’m unconvinced on whether Ms. Bland was murdered, but I’m absolutely certain that she was mistreated.

  98. stonetools says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    And by the bad “lame stream media” too, not by the good right wing media like The Blaze, Fox News , the Daily Caller, etc.

  99. Rodney Dill says:

    @bill: I have no need to stir things up bill. The facts of the current situation that we already know for certain have done that. (Traffic stop resulting in incarceration, in police custody, she’s now dead). However, your insinuation that she was racist

    (she must not like white folks?)

    is likely to only add fuel to the fire.

  100. Rodney Dill says:

    @James Pearce: RE: Bill Sparkman.
    Weren’t your words to KM? —

    The horrible things that happened to other people do not explain what happened to Sandra Bland. Shouldn’t we examine this incident on its merits, without allowing our thinking to be clouded by unrelated, but similar, things that have occurred elsewhere at other times involving different people?

  101. grumpy realist says:

    @EddieInCA: Um, depending what the time of the month it is I can think of a damn good reason for having a trash bag in a cell with a female. Especially if you suffer from the “pig-sticking” variety of period (quite common the first day or two.)

    I don’t imagine that providing such a bag would be regular policy and would only be provided upon request. So either it was specially requested by her (in which case there should be a record) or it wasn’t–in which case what is it doing in there? And if she requested it, there should be other physical evidence as to whether she DID need it (which makes the “suicide” look spontaneous) or there isn’t any physical evidence…which either indicates premeditation and planning on her part OR the police are lying about her request.

  102. James Pearce says:

    @Rodney Dill: Bill Sparkman doesn’t explain what happened to Sandra Bland. Bill Sparkman illustrates why your statement “suicide is unlikely” is, well, something I wouldn’t say.

    Because when you find someone, Bill Sparkman, Sandra Bland, Robin Williams, David Carradine, Michael Hutchence, my cousin Vince, etc, hanging from an improvised noose, the most likely explanation is, indeed, suicide.

  103. rodney dill says:

    @James Pearce: How many of those were in police custody resulting from a traffic stop?

    I’d still say unlikely, for myself. I do really try to not speak in absolutes in posts, and I did state my opinion on this about as strongly as I would state something. The investigators say they’re reviewing as thoroughly as a murder case, so we’ll see where it goes from there.

  104. @stonetools: Even better–yesterday evening after the comments above I saw the story on TPM. (Clearly, there is an attempted cover-up here!).

  105. Rafer Janders says:

    HEMPSTEAD – With new questions being raised into the arrest and death of Sandra Bland, Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said Monday that his office has not determined a cause of death for the woman who was found hanging in a cell in the Waller County Jail. Her death was initially ruled a suicide by medical examiners.

    “This is being treated like a murder investigation,” Mathis said at a news conference late in the afternoon, explaining that he has requested scientific testing from items at the jail, including touch DNA evidence on the plastic trash bag that officials earlier said Bland used to kill herself…..

    http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Family-of-Sandra-Bland-requests-independent-6395059.php#photo-8332528

  106. James Pearce says:

    @rodney dill:

    How many of those were in police custody resulting from a traffic stop?

    This seems to be the factor that’s throwing everything off. The circumstances of her arrest are blurring into the circumstances of her death. That seems to me to be an error.

    The investigators say they’re reviewing as thoroughly as a murder case, so we’ll see where it goes from there.

    As they should! But “where it goes from there?”

    This is where I think it will go: Long after the question has been answered, we’ll still see “What happened to Sandra Bland?” posters. Once something like this descends into conspiracy theory, it tends to stay there.

  107. rodney dill says:

    @James Pearce:

    This seems to be the factor that’s throwing everything off. The circumstances of her arrest are blurring into the circumstances of her death. That seems to me to be an error.

    You’re the one that cherry picked a bunch of already known suicides (that didn’t involve the police) and posted them along with Sandra’s name, implying that finding someone hanging was most likely suicide. The circumstances of her death are very much linked to the circumstances of her arrest. If she hadn’t been incarcerated due to a traffic stop she very likely would still be alive, regardless of how it’s now found that she perished.

  108. Rafer Janders says:

    @James Pearce:

    This seems to be the factor that’s throwing everything off.into the circumstances of her death. That seems to me to be an error.

    Hardly an error. Of course you have to take the circumstances of her arrest as part of the entire context of her detention (or, looked at another way, police kidnapping). She didn’t just magically appear in that jail cell, she was carried there by force, against her will, by the police, police who have a known tendency to abuse and even murder African-Americans in their custody.

  109. James Pearce says:

    @rodney dill:

    You’re the one that cherry picked a bunch of already known suicides

    Cherry picked? Please. They’re people who died by hanging who either a) “had everything to live for” or b) were suspected to be murdered, but weren’t. Mentioned only to illustrate the likelihood of suicide, a prospect you apparently cannot accept.

    And this:

    If she hadn’t been incarcerated due to a traffic stop she very likely would still be alive, regardless of how it’s now found that she perished.

    I agree with. And this whole time I’ve maintained that her treatment was indeed a factor in her suicide.

    But guess what happens when you falsely accuse someone of committing a murder? They become more sympathetic…and you become less.

  110. James Pearce says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    She didn’t just magically appear in that jail cell, she was carried there by force, against her will, by the police,

    Yeah, that’s what happens when you get arrested. You are carried to jail by force against your will.

    It doesn’t mean she was murdered.

    I think her arrest and her treatment were unjust, and her death a tragedy. Why do you need to concoct a conspiracy about a murder plot to say that?

  111. Barry says:

    @James Pearce: “But guess what happens when you falsely accuse someone of committing a murder? They become more sympathetic…and you become less.”

    One could say the same about people who claim ‘suicide’.

  112. James Pearce says:

    @Barry:

    One could say the same about people who claim ‘suicide’.

    Sure, but it’s not about me.

    Tell you what: When you guys can answer who killed her, how it was done, when and where it happened, then I’ll listen to your case for murder. (You don’t even have to get into the why.) Until then, I’ll just keep considering it speculation based on little more than suspicion.

    (Just saying….the suicide hypothesis provides answers to all of those questions. But as the man said, “Who needs proof when you have instinct?!”)

  113. rodney dill says:

    @James Pearce:

    Cherry picked? Please. They’re people who died by hanging who either a) “had everything to live for” or b) were suspected to be murdered, but weren’t. Mentioned only to illustrate the likelihood of suicide, a prospect you apparently cannot accept.

    …but you only picked ones you knew had been determined to be suicides. Pretty much the definition of Cherry Picking.

  114. rodney dill says:

    @James Pearce:

    I agree with. And this whole time I’ve maintained that her treatment was indeed a factor in her suicide.

    sounds like an absolute conclusion it’s suicide. I certainly haven’t made that jump for the case of murder, yet.

  115. James Pearce says:

    @rodney dill:

    …but you only picked ones you knew had been determined to be suicides.

    Yeah, well, I might have offered examples of people murdered in locked rooms by improvised nooses…if I had any.

    Now:

    I certainly haven’t made that jump for the case of murder, yet.

    Yesterday:

    I don’t see any likely explanation other than murder.

    Don’t worry, man.

    I take no credit for this change of heart.

  116. rodney dill says:

    @James Pearce: No change of heart yet, My statements don’t semantically conflict.

  117. KM says:

    @James Pearce :

    Yeah, well, I might have offered examples of people murdered in locked rooms by improvised nooses…if I had any.

    I think the M-word’s causing some confusion here. You’re posulating an active hositle attack, which would make such a scenario unlikely with the variable you stated. Many of us feel, however, that her death was caused by actions taken by police over the course of her arrest and incaration that lead to her death and thus a need for a cover-up. I don’t think they stranguled her, I think they put the bag on her head and around her throat in an effort to disguise whatever did kill her. Maybe she died of injuries incurred during the arrest, maybe she died from rough handling. Hell, maybe she died of a diabetic coma for all I know! I think they needed her to not be dead in custody after a questionable arrest so suddenly she’s a suicide with a garbage bag noose; a police CYA if you will. If she was murdered, it was in the passive sense, not the active hostile with rope coming to get her.

    What snags my professional curiosity in the video is the police themselves. The officers in the video don’t seem to be panicking when they find her. The first officer actually tosses a thumb over her shoulder in a “come-look-at-this” gesture. Nobody’s running or in a major hurry – if the timeline is correct, this happened in the space of less then two hours between last contact. They say they did CPR but I saw no one hauling ass. Having been in several codes, that’s not how you react to someone you could still save….. and you don’t do CPR on an obvious corpse. Everyone seems pretty damn calm for having a dead prisoner on their hands – makes me wonder how often that happens that nobody seems to be freaking out, rushing or reacting in surprise to something like that.

  118. James Pearce says:

    @rodney dill:

    My statements don’t semantically conflict.

    Um…yeah, they do.

    You have clearly backed away from “(no) likely explanation other than murder” into “haven’t made (the) jump for the case of murder.” But that’s alright, I’m not trying to suck you into a “gotcha.”

    Just trying to reason with you. It seems to be working.

    @KM:

    I don’t think they stranguled her, I think they put the bag on her head and around her throat in an effort to disguise whatever did kill her.

    Do you have any facts to support this belief?

    Scratch that. I think I may have spent too much time on this already. We’ll know the truth soon enough. If I’m wrong, I will acknowledge the error. If I’m right, I won’t say “toldja so.”

    But I will really, really want to….

  119. rodney dill says:

    @James Pearce: Seriously? do I have to explain the context of what I said in response to your comments?
    You said:

    I’ve maintained that her treatment was indeed a factor in her suicide.

    You said “her suicide” as an absolute. Mean you’ve made up your mind on way. I responded with

    sounds like an absolute conclusion it’s suicide. I certainly haven’t made that jump for the case of murder, yet.

    Supporting that I have not anywhere above stated murder as an absolute. I’ve always said murder was ‘likely’ and suicide as ‘unlikely’. Do you understand what the words ‘likely’ and ‘unlikely’ mean? They sure aren’t equivalent to ‘positively’ and ‘absolutely not’ but please play again when you’re willing to use the correct meaning of English words.

    No need to apologize for your incorrect understanding of the English language.

  120. James Pearce says:

    @rodney dill:

    No need to apologize for your incorrect understanding of the English language.

    Nah, no need to argue semantics with a dude who makes baseless murder accusations and then gives up defending them.

    At any rate, your “semantic” argument is wrong. When a person is found hanging in a locked room that no one entered or left, the most likely explanation is suicide. The unlikeliest explanation is murder.

    I win, you lose.

  121. KM says:

    @James Pearce:
    You’re getting kinda cranky because no one is coming at this from your point of view. Forgive the dramatics but think of of the differences in POV as Pascal’s Wager of Law Enforcement:

    – If you assume it to be a suicide and are right, nothing has changed. An investigation is done, no charges are filed, life moves on. There’s blog angst but negligible to no real world impact. You lose nothing in your assumption.
    – If you are wrong, however, you are allowing an innocent woman to go unavenged and injustice to pass by unchallenged. A crime does not get punished and the perpetrators remain free and in a position of authority. You lose it all with this assumption.

    One needs an apology if gotten wrong. The other needs a jail sentence. Can’t you see why most are looking at this opposite of where you’re coming from? The only reason this is being investigated in the first place is enough people didn’t decide as you did – the police had declared this over and done with already. We can’t afford to be wrong about this if she died by anyone’s hand but her own.

  122. James Pearce says:

    @KM:

    Can’t you see why most are looking at this opposite of where you’re coming from?

    Yes, I can. I’ve acknowledged as much.

    If I’m getting cranky, it’s because I’ve been asking for something to base these murder allegations on, and I’m just getting a bunch of nonsense in return. I’m not looking for a Giorgio Tsoukalos-like “Is it possible? Yes.”

  123. KM says:

    @James Pearce:
    If you are looking for a definitive smoking gun, there is none as of yet- it wouldn’t have been labeled a “suicide” in the first place if there was one. However, many little details add up to an uneasy picture, one where ask if she was killed isn’t unfeasible. Things like:
    – garbage bag in the cell at all. Why? If it was her time of month, that’ verifiable. Otherwise WTF?
    – there are two bags actually, on on her head and one around her neck. Even if she was allowed one for a can, why are there two?
    – where’s the pictures of the bags? They’re evidence. There should have been condensation in the bag if she breathed in it while alive and tears in the “rope” if she leaned/pulled on it. Where’s that evidence?
    – the touted camera is motion-activated. Those aren’t nearly as reliable as you’d think (see Mythbusters or your local delinquent for how to get around them). Is there continuous video all night long or only when there was movement? If no continuous video, there’s unaccounted for gaps.
    – I don’t care about the hour directly before – we need to see it all. If something happened to cause, say a small bleed in the brain, it would have taken longer then an hour to occur. By releaseing a small portion, the narrative focuses on that timeframe when the action could have been before.
    – they say she called for help with a phone call. Did that call take place? If not, why didn’t anyone follow-up on a request that suddenly didn’t happen? If she did call someone, who and have they been talked to? That’s the last contact they have but it keeps getting glassed over. If she was on the phone, it would narrow down the TOD by shortening the gap in the timeframe but it doesn’t get brought up.
    – You can’t see into the cell, only the hallway that lead to a door (door to her cell??). Saying no one was in the hallway =/= someone was in her cell. That’s a logical leap, not a fact. Demonstrate no one else was in the cell at all since she was put in there since there is no clear view of the door.
    – as I mentioned earlier, there’s a distinct lack of urgency in the video released of her discovery. Nobody’s running like they’re trying to save her life but they do CPR? It was either for show (“yes we tried”) or they weren’t invested in making sure she lived. Either way, very odd thing for the police to mention when compared to the video. Plus, CPR tends to break ribs when done right – that should be in the autopsy report
    – what was her emotional state over the 3 days? Why aren’t they talking about that? If she was demonstrating signs of depression like people say she supposedly had, why haven’t they brought this up in their favor? Why wasn’t she upgraded in surveillance if she did? They’re basically stating they saw nothing and this came out of absolutely nowhere under their diligent watch.

    The picture that’s being painted is incompetence at best with active deception as possibility. There were not on the ball. Right now they’re saying “Look at this specific moment! Look at this scene we found!” when really we need to be checking the whole damn 3 days. This is not a definitive list but things that bother me personally. There’s only so many weird things you can accept before you start looking for a weird cause.

  124. rodney dill says:

    @James Pearce: Speaking of losing, how is your bromance with bill coming. We haven’t heard from your biggest fan in a while.

  125. Rafer Janders says:

    @KM:

    – I don’t care about the hour directly before – we need to see it all. If something happened to cause, say a small bleed in the brain, it would have taken longer then an hour to occur. By releaseing a small portion, the narrative focuses on that timeframe when the action could have been before.

    Absolutely. The possible story isn’t just that she was murdered in the immediate hour before she was found. The cause of death could have been precipitated by anything that happened from the time she was assaulted by the trooper to the time her body was found — a slow brain bleed, an aneurysm, some other cause, etc. Maybe they didn’t kill her, but found her dead, panicked, and made it look like a suicide.

  126. James Pearce says:

    @KM:

    If you are looking for a definitive smoking gun, there is none as of yet

    I’m not really looking for a smoking gun. I’m just trying to find out what happened to Sandra Bland.

    @rodney dill:

    how is your bromance with bill coming.

    He broke it off when he found out my real name is Navin Johnson. Which is just fine with me.

    All I need is this paddle-ball game….

  127. the Q says:

    I think this will come down like the Ferguson trial, a thug was indeed a thug and the police force was indeed racist.

    Blacks can never admit that Brown was an idiot and wingnuts can’t admit the horrible, systemic racism in the Ferguson PD.

    I agree with James Pearce, This poor woman killed herself tragically in her cell. Why do I think this? I’ve seen it firsthand (long story). and how isolated and self hating one can become when all freedom is taken away. Also, she had to wait the weekend which is a long 3 days for someone in a precarious mental state.

    Rafer comes off like a shrill prick. Relax pal.

    No doubt the Sheriff and the deputy will resign, the family will get a million dollar settlement. The autopsy will come back suicide, the PD will be incriminated for past racist behavior in the brutalizing of black folk and major changes will be implemented. May poor Sandra RIP.

    I saw it in LA with OJ. Both sides couldn’t admit the LAPD planted evidence on a guilty guy.

    Sandra’s arrest was wrong and humiliating. She was from an affluent Yankee community and wasn’t about to take schitt from a redneck cracker azzhole.

    He didn’t like some uppity educated black woman from up North coming down and asserting her “nig-ger independence”.

    Hence, this spun out of control, with the cop over reacting to the questioning of his authority and the poor humiliated woman took out her anger on herself.

  128. rodney dill says:

    @James Pearce: …and this chair… and this lamp.

  129. KM says:

    @the Q:

    I think this will come down like the Ferguson trial, a thug was indeed a thug and the police force was indeed racist.

    If you’re sympathetic at all to Sandra Bland, consider rephrasing this horrible sentence. Her crimes were not signaling, not putting out a cigarette, contempt of cop and allegedly kicking him after he forced her from her car at Taser-point. Nothing thuggish here in the most remote sense. That’s some major league BS both-sides-do-it right there – like comparing space dust impacting the side of the space station to a planet-killing asteroid. It does not help your point at all.

  130. James Pearce says:

    @KM:

    Her crimes were not signaling, not putting out a cigarette, contempt of cop and allegedly kicking him after he forced her from her car at Taser-point.

    I watched the full video of the encounter with the cop last night and my blood boiled. I still don’t think Sandra Bland was murdered, at least in a non-metaphoric sense, but ….WTF?

    Rather than living in a world where you must bow your head to the police and mutter little more than a “Yassir” and “Nosir,” I’d rather live in a world where the police have some frigging boundaries.

    @rodney dill: You get it, bud. I’m not saying I’m a jerk….but I’m a jerk.

  131. Barrr@scre@biz says:

    @James Pearce: “Tell you what: When you guys can answer who killed her, how it was done, when and where it happened, then I’ll listen to your case for murder. (You don’t even have to get into the why.) Until then, I’ll just keep considering it speculation based on little more than suspicion.”

    Police, in her cell, because.

    Also, it’s now been proven that the police dashcam video was edited, with the soundtrack also not. Atching the video.

  132. Rafer Janders says:

    And what do you know: the video that the Texas Dept. of Public Safety released of the traffic stop appears to be doctored:

    Exposition: This is the video tape released by Texas DPS on their YouTube channel. At about 32:00 in the video, the office is the middle of his justification for his actions and his version of the events in a one way conversation. While the audio is never broken, the cars on Texas Highway 290, one of my favorite in Texas, magically appear and disappear in a tragic loop. That is what this is about…. After watching it ten times, it most definitely loops but the audio stays unbroken except gaps in silence. About a minute after the last PD rolls by at the 31 minutes mark, the video is most definitely edited. This is also when the officer is giving his side of the story. A Ghost car repeatedly turns left over and over again. And a white car passes behind the same white SUV countless times…..

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/07/22/1404463/-Sandra-Bland-Video-Boss-Hogg-BS#

  133. Rafer Janders says:

    Yep, not a cop who would ever do anything to harm Sandra Bland, is he….

    “I’m going to yank you out of here,” Encinia said as the two struggled in the car. “I’m going to drag you out of here.”

    “Don’t touch me, I’m not under arrest,” Bland said.

    “I will light you up!” Encinia said, while pointing the Taser at Bland.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/07/21/much-too-early-to-call-jail-cell-hanging-death-of-sandra-bland-suicide-da-says/

  134. Rafer Janders says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Watch that video again: cars driving down the road magically disappear at the 32:38, 33:06, 33:25, 33:55, and 33:59 marks — the same cars that somehow seem to repeat their trips down that road multiple times.

  135. Barrr@scre@biz says:

    @James Pearce: “I’m not really looking for a smoking gun. I’m just trying to find out what happened to Sandra Bland.”

    Well, the dashcam video was faked. Your reaction?

  136. Barrry says:

    I have no clue what happened to my name.

  137. James Pearce says:

    @Barrr@scre@biz:

    Police, in her cell, because.

    Now there’s a case that should be in front of a jury….

    @Rafer Janders: The problem with the conspiratorial mindset in a nutshell. Every unexplained weirdness just deepens the mystery.

    Taking a rational approach, on the other hand, brings you closer to an understanding.

  138. James Pearce says:

    @Barrr@scre@biz:

    Well, the dashcam video was faked. Your reaction?

    It wasn’t faked. It was faulty.

    Digital video, being just 1s and 0s, is subject to recording and writing errors. In a locked-off static shot this may appear to be an edit, but it is just, in fact, an equipment failure.

    Now I haven’t put my forensic team on this particular video, so I can’t say that’s what happened here. I suppose it’s possible that someone intentionally cut in some looped video, perhaps to hide something suspicious, but c’mon…..

    Can you guys just stop with the nonsense? The Sandra Bland story is more compelling as it is without all this conspiracy crap.

  139. Rafer Janders says:

    @James Pearce:

    The Sandra Bland story is more compelling as it is without all this conspiracy crap.

    The Houston Chronicle, NBC News, ABC, the New York Times, etc. are all reporting on the edited video, and the Texas DPS and FBI say they are investigating. I guess they’re also all falling for this conspiracy crap.

  140. KM says:

    @James Pearce:

    I totally agree. I would have sassed him and kicked him too. As a female, I would have definitely felt threatened by the Taser bit and did everything I could to keep the clearly power-drunk jerk away from my person. This officer was way out of line and should be brought up on charges ASAP. I would suspect only the most hardened of jerks could watch it and still try and ascribe blame to her. That being said, I sincerely doubt most people have seen the vid so they rely on that good ole-fashioned grapevine that can push she was aggressive towards the officer and thus “deserved it”.

    Normally, I’d completely agree with you that the most logical outcome of finding someone hung would be suicide but in this case, the background facts really does lead one towards a foul play conclusion and one would be remiss to not give it serious credence. You know House says it’s never lupus? Well, sometimes it really is. Right now, it’s looking like the unlikely explanation is starting to be more likely then not. I do think you’re using murder in the sense she was deliberately and violently attacked with the intention of her demise whereas the rest of us are using it in the sense that some hostile action taken against her ultimately killed her even if it took several days.

    I think they were afraid of having another Freddie Grey having seen how that turned out. I think there are a lot of scared, dishonest officers who trying to “manage” a situation one of their own caused. The human tendency to panic when it all goes to hell is what I’m guessing made a bad situation into the clusterf*ck we see now.

  141. Rafer Janders says:

    @James Pearce:

    Digital video, being just 1s and 0s, is subject to recording and writing errors. In a locked-off static shot this may appear to be an edit, but it is just, in fact, an equipment failure.

    Please. Errors in recording and writing would tend most often to ruin the video, not make it drop and loop frames so cleanly. Also, too, it wouldn’t result in such clean audio edits. Whoever did it spliced in dead time in so the officer could justify what he did in his portion of the recording.

  142. Barry says:

    @James Pearce: “Now there’s a case that should be in front of a jury….”

    You’re lying here, because to the extent that the police control the evidence, and the prosecutor is in cahoots with the police, the murder would be covered up.

  143. Barry says:

    @James Pearce: “It wasn’t faked. It was faulty.”

    Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhht.

    So far in these discussions I’ve participated, there’s a 100% correlation between ‘bending over backwards to favor the police’ and ‘supports the police murdering at will (except for white right-wingers, of course).

  144. KM says:

    @James Pearce:

    Taking a rational approach,

    The rational approach is not to dismiss something as “mechanical error” or “overwrite” but to take each possible aspect and give it due credence. The rational approach is to say “Given the stress the police are putting on a video as proof of no malfeasance that is now shown to be faulty, why would they use it as proof in the first place?” Did no one watch it before releasing it? Did no one notice this and go, hmmmm maybe we shouldn’t use questionable tape? If some yahoo on internet saw it, why didn’t the police who watch these videos for a living spot it and note it when releasing so “conspiracy theories” don’t take root? A note bene that the quality of the vid was “poor” or “scratchy” could have nipped that in the bud if true.

    Serious question: How many f*ck-ups are they allowed before it stops being general incompetence and becomes something deliberate? What is it going to take for you to change your mind that maybe the police have a vested interest in not being 100% honest for any reason regarding this?

  145. Barry says:

    Fo@KM: “Serious question: How many f*ck-ups are they allowed before it stops being general incompetence and becomes something deliberate?”

    I would guess it’ll take one white right-winger being killed under circumstances which are not videoed from three different angles by third-parties.

  146. James Pearce says:

    @KM:

    What is it going to take for you to change your mind that maybe the police have a vested interest in not being 100% honest for any reason regarding this?

    To be clear, I’m not defending the police. Bland’s arrest is indefensible.

    That doesn’t mean I have to buy the woo-woo.

  147. Barry says:

    @James Pearce: “That doesn’t mean I have to buy the woo-woo.”

    Well, we have a forged video, and you’re buying that woo-woo.

  148. KM says:

    @James Pearce:

    buy the woo-woo.

    At this point, it’s starting to be “display naivete”. Think of it like this: An female American just moved to Riyadh is arrested for a minor infraction with video displaying it was really a power trip on the religious police who manhandle her and potentially injure her. It shows her being belligerent because of unlawful and unreasonable requests being made of her and has her forced out at weapon-point by the angry mutaween. Said video has clear discrepancies and edits that are being referred to as “technical issues”. She is locked up in isolation for 3 days and is found dead at the end of it. There’s no video of the cell but the hall leading to it, video that is not continuous and is suspect. She is found dead using materials she should not have had in a suspicious way. The authorities claim she was violent, angry and disrespectful. They say they have no idea why this happened but it’s totally not their fault – she was clearly troubled. They take a vid she made earlier and use it as evidence she was clearly depressed and therefore it was just her addled femaleness that killed her. They call it suicide, close the books and move on. Nothing to see here.

    Do you buy that crap? Think the State Department would? It sounds insane on the face of it. Nobody would accept the “she decided to end it all” and would have immediately gone with “suspicious circumstances”. It certainly wouldn’t be referred to as woo-woo. So why does a woman in danger in Texas not get the same consideration a woman abroad would?

  149. KM says:

    Can a mod release me from the filter please? Not sure what got me caught……

  150. @KM: I don’t see anything pending–maybe the internet ate it?

  151. superdestroyer says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:

    It is good to see progressives admit that they have created a situation with no good solution. They want minorities to hate law enforcement and cannot find a way to get the hate to subsides. I hope all of the efforts to increase black voter turnout are worth all of the addition crime that will occur in the future.

  152. the Q says:

    KM, I never said Sandra was a thug. I was trying to say (obviously without much success) that what will come out (and it has) that the officer was an overbearing azzhole who was teaching this “uppity Negress from up North” a lesson and it spun out of control.

    She was arrested, freaked out (rightfully so because of the deputy’s thuggish behavior) then committed suicide.

    The investigation and autopsy will show (like Michael Brown) that the cops story is correct, but subsequent civil rights probes into this PD will show, like Ferguson, overt racist policing which will result in firings and oversight.

  153. Barry says:

    @the Q: “The investigation and autopsy will show (like Michael Brown) that the cops story is correct, but subsequent civil rights probes into this PD will show, like Ferguson, overt racist policing which will result in firings and oversight.”

    Well, the officer’s story seems to require video forgery to back it up…..

  154. KM says:

    @Steven: said the spam filter caught it and to let the moderator know. I

  155. KM says:

    @the Q:
    That may not have been your intention but it’s what you typed. We’re not mind-readers, we just see what’s on the screen. You said “a thug was indeed a thug” to riff of Ferguson without stopping to consider that word was not appropriate at all for this situation and is being used in some circles to actively disparage Ms Bland. Since your sentence specifies the police with their own description right after thug, it’s not hard for a reader to come to the conclusion you mean thug = Sandra. You could have said “victim was indeed a victim” or even “law-breaker was indeed a law-breaker” and have it be factually right as she did break a minor traffic law.

    If you picked a poor analogy, sentence structure or word choice, as it seems you did, you can’t get mad when people don’t get your meaning or take umbrage with it. You probably didn’t mean to be cruel. For the record, I understood what you were trying to say easily. I’m just pointing out using the word “thug” was highly rude and unfair to her character. It’s slanderous to a dead woman and not worth it for attempted word-play.

  156. Rodney Dill says:

    @KM: I approved the comment that was pending

  157. KM says:

    @Stephen @Rodney Dill

    Thanks muchly, gents! They’re free. 🙂

  158. Barry says:

    @the Q: “She was arrested, freaked out (rightfully so because of the deputy’s thuggish behavior) then committed suicide.”

    Bull.

  159. Barry says:

    @the Q: “She was arrested, freaked out (rightfully so because of the deputy’s thuggish behavior) then committed suicide.”

    Even if this is true, it sounds like the officer should be legally and criminally liable.

    Frankly, the bottom line is that she went in alive, and came out dead. That officer and the sheriff (running the jail) should pay. Preferably with hard prison time.