The Sandra Bland Act-Why it is Offensive
We have said her name, we have asked for answers, and received very few. We have grieved with Sandra Bland’s family em-pathetically, to no avail. We watched as police in Waller County excused and covered up an aggravated arrest, a beating, and eventually a murder. The murder of a 28 year old BLACK WOMAN in which the authorities involved were not indicted or punished to the fullest extent of the law. No matter how much protesting was done, how many times we cried out for justice. It didn't matter how often we saw the face of her grieving family; nothing seemed to work. Now the Texas House Committee has passed a distasteful version of a bill that would actually hold law enforcement accountable for the treatment of minorities. You know Black People, Women, Latinos, and people suffering from mental Illness. All those people included when you hear an employer say, “We welcome diversity!”. That’s who they mean.
Here is the The Sandra Bland Act/SB-1849 caption text of the Bill:
Relating to interactions between law enforcement and individuals detained or arrested on suspicion of the commission of criminal offenses, to the confinement, conviction, or release of those individuals, and to grants supporting populations that are more likely to interact frequently with law enforcement.
It has been reported by various news outlets that Sandra Bland’s family finds this Act to be upsetting. I would assume namely because it pretty much redacted the parts that really address changes regarding Criminal Justice Reform/Law Enforcement.
I found the original Bill and I can see how they would believe that the State of Texas has wronged them again. The excerpt I am about to show is the research portion that addresses the problem that the Bill hoped to rectify. Here is how it reads:
“SECTION A1.03.AA FINDINGS. After the tragic death of Sandra Bland the House Committee on County Affairs held multiple hearings during the interim of the 84th Texas Legislative Session. The County Affairs Committee reviewed the facts, circumstances, and policies that played a factor in the death of Sandra Bland. The Committee found that there are significant racial disparities in how the Texas Department of Public Safety treats Blacks when compared to Whites after they have been pulled over for a traffic violation. The Committee also found that the way DPS records and presents the data needs to be improved. This Act will address these problems by strengthening Texas ’ racial profiling law, as well as ensuring that the data Texas collects is robust, clear, and accurate. The Committee found reason to believe that Sandra Bland and many other people are still being stopped for an underlying pretext. Though pre-textual stops are not the policy of DPS, Texas law needs to be strengthened to ensure that it does not happen at DPS or any other law enforcement agency in Texas.” http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/billtext/pdf/SB01849I.pdf#navpanes=0
The actual, Sandra Bland Act.. came up short. It’s a hack job. It addresses mental illness haphazardly, and completely dispels the issues of RACIAL PROFILING AGAINST BLACK PEOPLE/LATINOS IN TEXAS. I read it Sistas, all 30 pages. Let me sum it up, without the legal jargon:
- POLICE/Peace Officers: Do not racial profile.
(No you (peace officers of TX) won’t necessarily get in trouble if you do, unless “corrective action” would be considered punishment I guess. That is kinda vague right? What is corrective? A couple of days off perhaps? Of course this corrective action is based on a complaint being filed later on by the suspect IN EVENT THEY MAKE IT THAT LONG.
- Make sure there is an audit report done to make sure it is reviewed accurately how much racial profiling is occurring during traffic stops. So basically let’s quantify how many times a “random” stop occurs, and they don’t find any drugs. If you are thinking of racially profiling someone before a traffic stop, make sure you state the race of the person that you are pulling over (don’t they do that anyway?) Also, make sure that you’re pulling over a person of color over for a good reason. And no, they didn’t really mention what a good reason was.. Why would they?
- Officers must have 20 hrs of Racial Sensitivity Training. So 20 hrs of racial sensitivity training is going to erase years and years of rhetoric from:
- WHITE BAPTIST Churches they attend
- Mr. Johnson your dad’s racist best friend
- Your Frat Bros, The brothers at the Lodge Meetings, and Co-Workers
- It is going to eliminate the years of defamatory practices of law enforcement officials towards black people for 200 years. (I could have given you a more accurate number.. But that would probably upset me further).
- 20 hours is going to magically help aid in understanding the Black Diaspora. It would eliminate all of the images displayed by the media about how BARBARIC Black people. The same images that are ENGRAINED IN THEIR MINDS. METHODICALLY.
- Maybe those same 20 hrs can even dispel the disdain law enforcement towards Latin Americans. I wouldn't doubt they are still upset with Mexican American's about the loosing at the battle of the ALAMO.
- 20 hrs is enough time to cover how to understand WOMEN. MINORITIES. AND THE MILLIONS OF AMERICANS IMPACTED BY MENTAL ILLNESS.
- YEAH RIGHT. 20 hrs of sensitivity training. Please.
It would be wise for Texas officials to amend this act to actually make it viable for the many citizens in the State of Texas who fear for their lives when they are stopped by the police. I will not hold my breath. My heart and prayers go out to the Bland Family, and I hope that one day, you can receive justice for the angel that you lost.
Peace Sista Gurls!