A Texas grand jury declined to indict anyone in Bland’s death on Monday, after hearing eight hours of evidence and testimony. Bland was found hanging in her jail cell in July. Bland had just moved to Texas from Chicago and was about to start a job at her alma mater, Prairie View A&M University when she was pulled over and arrested by a state trooper. Many had called for the trooper, Brian Encinia, to be indicted for his treatment of Bland, whom he threatened to “light up” with a stun gun; when Bland told him she had epilepsy after he slammed her to the ground, he said “good.” According to KTRK, no one who worked inside the jail Bland died in will face criminal charges either, though the grand jury “will reconvene on January 6 to discuss other, misdemeanor matters related to the case.” Courts in Texas, which does not have a state income tax, are huge revenue generators for the state.
The decision was met with outrage from Bland’s family, friends, and supporters. “We feel like this whole effort to convene a grand jury was done for political reasons. They know that most people don’t know what goes on in a grand jury. When they do release the findings, they release evidence they deem [relevant],” Bland’s family’s lawyer said. In a statement condemning the decision released last night, Bernie Sanders said “There’s s no doubt in my mind that she, like too many African Americans who die in police custody, would be alive today if she were a white woman.”