Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Sandra Bland, Texas and police killings

A Smiling Sandra Bland before her trip down to Texas. Photo from USA Today.

It has been said for years that the police has been militarized and continue to use disproportionate force against people of color particularly against African American people. Why the sudden rise in police violence or police terrorism as some call it towards African American men, women and children? Again another family is mourning the death of their child, mom, daughter and sister. Sandra Bland, a young woman from Chicago, Illinois, was on her way to a new job and life at the Historically Black Prarieview A&M University in Prarieview, Texas a suburb near Houston. Ecstatic about the new life, she left home for a long drive South some 1,084 miles. Texas has a history of being a cowboy republic. Slavery is ignored and even downplayed in Texas history books. Racism too is downplayed in Texas' metropolitan cities. Houston is raised up by Texans and other Americans across the country as a model of cultural and ethnic diversity in the South. Austin, Texas' capital has become the new progressive city. Texas is changing demographically and politically, it is one of several purple states that the political pundits muse over closer to the presidential election. While the changes are visible, Texas' history and continual racism and violence against women are inexcusable. For all the self proclamations and accolades as the center of women's liberation (which also exists in other parts of the world) and having launched the feminist movement, the United States does not do any better than other countries concerning violence against women and children. Domestic violence, abuse, rape and misogyny happens frequently in the United States. Its tied to machismo, gun culture, the literal interpretation of the second amendment. The police violence against women and children is equally tied to violence and misogyny.

The teen who was body slammed and wrestled by McKinney police speaks 

It has been less than a month since police officers led by Office Eric Casebolt broke up a pool party in McKinney, Texas by slamming another young African American woman Dejerria Becton on the ground in her bathing suit, rolling ninja style towards the other black teens who tried to help her at first and than the additional officers chased after the teenage boys. All the while white teen was recording the McKinney violence and spoke out against the racist attack and invited the and her friends back for another pool party. Eric Casebolt was fired from his post in McKinney. There was a fight that proceeded the police violence towards the teens where Dejerria was slapped and than wrestled by an older white woman without the help of the cameraman who recorded it or the other adults present. The woman was later placed on leave from her job. The fact that an adult would slap or use excessive violence against a teenage should raise eyebrows and make teen's parents and wider community demand the rights of their daughter or child.

Dash Cam of Sandra Bland arrest

Sandra was simply driving to her final destination when she was pulled over by the police. The State Trooper Eric Briana insisted that it was for keeping a turn signal on too long. Which is a mistake any driver could make on any given day. Than Briana tried to argue with Sandra to put out her cigarette while she drive. She told the trooper there was no reason to and there isn't a written law on not smoking while driving. She exited the car and Trooper Briana than tried to yank her out of the car as she insisted that she didn't do anything for him to arrest her. He than threatened, "I will light you up," As he pointed a taser at her. She hasn't swung or used any kind of physical force simply her words and anger to make a point that the officer was using unnecessary force including slamming her face on the ground. Again grabbing people and than slamming them on the ground is not allowed on any police force unless the person uses violence against the officers. Even than, overuse of shooting and violence isn't supposed to lead to death. Officers have specific procedures they are supposed to follow when talking to drivers especially women and children that minimizes violence or aggressive confrontation. Sandra was taken unlawfully to the Waller County jailhouse and later found dead from what the officers call "a suicide" from hanging. Which begs the question, if someone was about to start a new job or new life why would they suddenly kill themselves at a police station? Furthermore, why would any woman be hauled off to jail for a signal staying on to long or as the saying goes "a busted headlight?" Why did the officer feel the need to use such a confrontation method when approaching Sandra? This is the official report that Sandra's family and friends back in Chicago have been questioning in disbelief and asking for an independent autopsy. The suicide that has since been brought into question. 

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