Sandra Bland’s Jail Cell ‘Suicide’ Prompts Investigations Into Police Custody Deaths

By now, everyone is aware of the tragic death of Sandra Bland, the woman who was driving from Chicago to Texas to take a new job when she was pulled over and brutalized during a “routine” traffic stop, and later wound up dead in her jail cell in police custody. The people who knew Ms. Bland insist she was excited about her new job and that should would certainly not commit suicide. This makes her death all the more suspicious. Further, there has been evidence of racism from both the sheriff and the prosecutor who are supposedly investigating her death.

Well, the murky situation surrounding this tragedy has not gone unnoticed. The family has, rightfully, filed a lawsuit regarding the death of their loved one and there has been much public outrage. As a result, the people in authority, in the area in which Ms. Bland died, are now forming a committee specifically to look into jailhouse deaths.

While the Republican Lt. Governor refused to acknowledge that it was Sandra Bland’s supposed suicide was what prompted the forming of this committee, Sen. John Whitmire, a Democrat, didn’t mince words on the issue:

“There’s no question that Ms. Bland’s tragedy has led us to this point.”

Luckily, Senator Whitmire will be heading up this new committee, rather than some GOP shill who is more interested in playing politics than in getting at the truth and making sure justice is served.

Cannon Lambert, who is the attorney for Sandra Bland’s family, says that they would be interested in attending the meetings regarding these investigations into these supposed suicides, saying, “I can tell you they are unequivocally interested in testifying to the committee.”

Hopefully, these people are allowed to talk to this committee and tell their side of the story to the people who can actually do something. Well, even if he won’t mention Sandra Bland directly, Lt. Governor Patrick has the right idea, as he said of the matter of jail cell suicides:

“Our goal would be to have a zero tolerance on suicides.”

That’s the way it should be. The thing is, even if Sandra Bland and other people did commit suicide in their jail cells, they never should have had the means and opportunity to do so. While jail isn’t supposed to exactly fun, it is also not supposed to be torturous, and certainly not deadly, by one’s own hand or by the hands of those in positions of power over inmates.

It is the jobs of the people charged with monitoring the inmates to seek proper medical attention — including mental health evaluations — when needed. Perhaps if they had done their jobs, Sandra Bland and so many others would still be alive. But, thanks to a very broken system and lots of prejudice, abuse, and neglect that is so deeply ingrained that mountains will have to be  moved, we will never know.

Featured image via screen capture from WLS