Sandra Bland’s death in a Texas jail cell highlights at least three major policy changes needed to keep the public safe from its protectors, says the Grits for Breakfast blog in Texas: The police officer should not have had grounds to arrest her in the first place; even if arrested, she should have been booked and released, not jailed, and once in jail, she should have been more closely monitored, assuming that her death was in fact, a suicide. While lots remains unknown about Bland’s death, she would probably be alive today if she had been booked and released on a personal bond with a date to return to court for her hearing.
Bland’s friends and family are raising a ruckus, saying she was a special person. Unfortunately, says Grits for Breakfast, the circumstances surrounding her unjust detention and preventable death weren’t special at all. One can can learn much from what’s unique about this young woman’s case, but perhaps even more from what it has in common with dozens or hundreds of others. Last year in Texas there were 615 in-custody deaths; 410 were in state facilities, excluding 10 executions, and the rest were police shootings or deaths in jails.