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A grand jury has refused to indict any jail employees for Sandra Bland’s death

AP Photo/Pat Sullivan
Bland’s mother outside the federal courthouse on Dec. 17.
  • Kate Groetzinger
By Kate Groetzinger

Ideas fellow

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

A Texas grand jury announced yesterday, Dec. 21, that it will not indict any employees of the sheriff’s office or jail associated with the controversial death of Sandra Bland, earlier this year. The jury did not reach a decision regarding Brian Encinia, the officer responsible for Bland’s arrest.

The grand jury was convened last month to review evidence and to decide whether or not to press charges against state employees, after Bland was found hanging in a Waller County jail cell on July 13. The grand jury heard over eight hours of evidence on Monday before handing down their decision, according to NBC news.

The 28-year-old from Chicago had been arrested three days prior to her death, for allegedly assaulting highway patrolman Encinia after being pulled over for a minor traffic violation. Footage of Bland’s violent arrest, which was captured by both a patrol car camera and a bystander, quickly went viral. An autopsy report concluded later in July that Bland committed suicide.

Bland’s mother, Geneva Reed-Veal says that the investigation was mishandled by authorities. ”Right now the biggest problem I have is the entire process,” Reed-Veal, told the Chicago Tribune on Monday before the jury released their decision. “It’s the secrecy of it all.”

Special prosecutor Jarrell Jordan, who is presiding over the investigation and prosecution of government employees connected to the case, said that the case is not closed. The grand jury will reconvene in January to hear more evidence and discuss whether Encinia should face charges, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Separately, Bland’s family has filed a suit against Encinia, the county that jailed her, and the employees of Waller County jail. It is due to go to trial in late January 2017.

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