A Texas grand jury refused last night to issue any indictments related to the death of Sandra Bland, who died in custody at the Waller County Jail in July. The Houston Chronicle says the decision is expected to intensify the nationwide debate about the treatment of minorities at the hands of law enforcement. Earlier in the day in Chicago, the family of Bland, a black woman, had said they had no faith in the grand jury’s proceedings. “It’s exactly the type of thing we had a concern about, the fact that they were going to do exactly what they did,” said Cannon Lambert, a lawyer for Bland’s mother, Geneva Reed-Veal. “They did not keep the family informed.” (Prosecutor Darrell Jorden said the grand jury reached no decision on whether the trooper who arrested Bland should face charges, the Associated Press reports. The grand jury will return next month to consider that issue.)
Bland, 28, was found dead in a jail cell on July 13, three days after she was pulled over by Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Brian Encinia and arrested. An autopsy determined that her in-custody death was a suicide by hanging. A Houston federal judge set a January 2017 trial date for the wrongful death lawsuit Bland’s mother and the estate have filed against various officials. Bland, a Prairie View A&M University graduate, has become an emblem of the Black Lives Matter movement.