Last week, in a remarkable display of solidarity, we joined with partners to deliver more than 500,000 signatures to Attorney General Loretta Lynch urging the Department of Justice to investigate Sandra Bland's tragic death. But we can’t stop here. Over the last 3 weeks, it seems that Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis has done everything in his power to cover up what happened to Sandra. Instead of looking at the illegal stop and violent arrest that unjustly put her in jail in the first place, local officials are trying to blame Sandra for her own death.1
We've waited long enough for Officer Encinia to be held accountable for his abusive misconduct. Now, we need a groundswell of public pressure to ensure DA Mathis does his job and brings Officer Encinia to justice.
Demand Waller County DA Mathis prosecute Officer Encinia for the illegal arrest and assault and battery of Sandra Bland.
The truth is, Sandra Bland would still be alive today had it not been for Officer Encinia's brutal racism and violence. Sandra didn't make any traffic violations when Officer Encinia made a u-turn and sped up behind her. She was also not armed and yet Encinia threatened to “light” her up with his taser.2 Sandra was not combative nor resisting and yet Encinia slammed her to the ground while she cried out in pain. Sandra was arrested and charged with assault, even though the video clearly shows Encinia as the aggressor.
In the video and later the police report, we see Officer Encinia spin a web of lies as he quickly attempts to justify his violent behavior and criminalize Sandra to his fellow officers.3 His actions are criminal and he should not be a police officer. We need DA Mathis to do everything in his power to prosecute Officer Encinia with a felony offense in order to keep this killer cop off the streets. In order for Officer Encinia to lose his police license he must be convicted of a felony.
We’ve waited long enough. It's DA Mathis' job to protect Black residents in the area and hold racist and violent police who target Black people — such as Encinia — accountable. And we know accountability is possible. Baltimore DA Marilyn Mosby recently indicted the six police officers involved in the killing of Freddie Gray and just last week Collin County DA Joe Deter indicted Officer Ray Tensing for brutally killing Sam Dubose.4,5 Prolonged delays and silence are not the answer. We need Waller County officials to act now.
Waller County officials must come to terms with their violent history of racism and discrimination and stand up for Black lives. This is just as much about Sandra Bland as it is about making sure all Black people in the area don’t have to experience the same unbridled violence and brutality at the hands of the state. And it starts with prosecuting Officer Encinia for the illegal arrest and assault and battery of Sandra Bland. Let's show Waller County officials that we are not going to stop until the killing stops.
Thanks and peace,
Rashad, Arisha, Shani, Lyla and the rest of he ColorOfChange.org team
August 6th, 2015
August 6th, 2015
1. "Marijuana Didn't Kill Sandra Bland," Ebony 07-27-2015
2. "In the video of Sandra Bland’s arrest, the tape doesn’t lie," Boston Globe 07-23-15
3. "Blame the Police," Slate 07-22-2015
4. "Marilyn Mosby: 6 police officers indicted in Freddie Gray death," Washington Times 05-21-15
5. "Prosecutor: UC officer 'purposefully killed' DuBose," Cincinnati Enquirer 07-29-15
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