Texas state trooper who arrested Sandra Bland violated protocol, department says

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How did a traffic stop lead to Sandra Bland's death? Did she really die of "self-inflicted asphyxiation" in her jail cell? If wrongdoing on the part of law enforcement can be proven, will the state troopers involved be held accountable? Amid cries for answers, the Texas Department of Public Safety has begun to address at least some of those questions.

According to a statement emailed to Fusion Friday night:

In the preliminary review of the traffic stop that occurred in Prairie View on July 10, 2015, involving Sandra Bland, we have identified violations of the department’s procedures regarding traffic stops and the department’s courtesy policy.


The DPS' statement reveals that the state trooper who arrested Bland has been "assigned administrative duties" pending a full investigation. It also says that there is video footage related to the incident that will be released to the public "as soon as possible" following forensic analysis.

Fusion has reached out to the Texas DPS' Media and Communications Office for clarifications on the statement, and we will update if we hear back.


Bland, whose first day of work at alma mater Prairie View A&M University would have been last Wednesday, was arrested by Texas state troopers on July 10 for allegedly displaying combative behavior. Video footage of the arrest shows her out of the vehicle, pinned down, as she tells the officers that they "just slammed [her] head into the ground." On July 13, the DPS say that she was found dead in her jail cell.

After a push by activists to drive #SandraBland awareness on social media, the Texas Rangers and the FBI launched a joint investigation into Bland's death and the state troopers' handling of her arrest. But there seems to be a major conflict of interest in this investigation: The Texas Rangers are composed entirely of former state troopers—the very people they are now investigating.

Related coverage:

Why is the same agency that arrested Sandra Bland investigating her death, too?


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