Civil Rights

Sandra Bland's mom files suit over her daughter's arrest and jailhouse death

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A lawsuit filed on Tuesday by the mother of Sandra Bland claims the Texas state trooper who pulled her over used inappropriate force and jailers didn’t react to her “bouts of uncontrollable crying.”

In a press conference announcing the civil rights suit on Tuesday, Bland’s mother, Geneva Reed-Veal, acknowledged it was possible her daughter killed herself in the Waller County, Texas, jail cell, the Chicago Tribune reports. The New York Times and Texas Lawyer also have coverage of the suit.

“Anything is possible. I wasn’t there,” Reed-Veal said. “But as a mother, my inner is telling me that she did not do that. … The bottom line is she never should have been inside the jail cell. Period.”

The trooper who stopped Bland for failing to signal a lane change on July 10 ordered Bland out of her car after she refused his request to put out her cigarette. The trooper then told Bland he would “light you up” with a Taser if she didn’t get out of the car.

Later, Bland can be heard on video claiming the officer slammed her head to the ground; he claimed Bland had kicked him. Bland was found hanged in her jail cell three days later.

The suit, filed Aug. 4 in federal court in Houston, claims the Texas Department of Public Safety knew or should have known that the arresting officer “exhibited a pattern of escalating encounters with the public.” At the jail, Bland was provided with inadequate monitoring, the suit claims.

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