Tue, May 07 | Texas Capitol


Registration is Closed

Time & Location

May 07, 2019, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Texas Capitol, 1100 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701, USA

About the event

In one of the many powerful videos she published before her death in 2015, Sandra Bland prophetically says, “This thing that I’m holding in my hand, this telephone, this camera. It is quite powerful. Social media is powerful. We can do something with this. If we want a change, we can really, truly make it happen.” Her invitation to utilize our phones to stimulate change can still be heard more than four years after her original request. While it has remained hidden until now, we should not be surprised that Sandra Bland’s own phone was a powerful tool that captured evidence that she was not a threat to Officer Brian Encina.

We are inviting all the legislators that endorsed, sponsored, co-sponsored, and voted yes for the Sandra Bland Act to hold the Department of Police Safety and the Attorney General accountable in retrieving answers regarding how this evidence was kept unavailable for almost four years. Those same legislators should seek to pass legislation this session that would prohibit arrests like Sandra Bland’s from happening.

We have compiled a list of actions the legislature can engage to aid in the pursuit of answers and justice. We are seeking, not limited to the following, recommendations to aid remedy the injustice of Sandra Bland’s arrest that led to her death :

Department of Public Safety (DPS) has continuously made claims about racial profiling being a myth, and officers being trained to treat all people equally. Although acts indicative of racial profiling may be banned by law, experiences of people of African ancestry tell a different story. Women of African ancestry have a unique experience, without supportive data. We recommend an interim study utilizing aggregated data collected from the DPS regarding racial profiling. This study should be included in the original racial profiling report mandated by the Sandra Bland Act adding gender, and age range, if and when possible. Allowing the stories of women’s experiences to be highlighted through data;

The suppression of evidence illustrating that Sandra Bland was not a direct or deadly threat to officer Encina seems intentional by nature. Sandra Bland’s family attorney, Cannon Lambert, requested access to all evidence in relation to the traffic stop of Bland by Encina. The evidence recently release indicates the suppression of evidence by DPS and/or the Attorney General (AG). We recommend the AG and DPS be summoned by appropriate committees to explain how this evidence was suppressed, who was responsible for its suppression, and how do we hold them and their department accountable;

The Sandra Bland Act passed in the 85th legislative session did not entail all policy recommendations that would prohibit encounters like Encina’s and Sandra Bland’s. Sandra Bland was arrested for a non-jailable, punishable by fine only offense. The Texas House and Senate should pass bills with language requesting the prohibition of arrests for offenses punishable by fine only and Class C misdemeanors. Legislatures have an opportunity to ensure, citizens and travelers through Texas, they will not experience the same or similar encounters as Sandra Bland. The Texas legislature and Lieutenant Governor have an opportunity to cultivate a state that does not jail people for offenses that do not pose a threat to themselves, another, property, and/or infringes upon public safety. Legislators must pass additional provision to assure people are not arrested like Sandra Bland for a non-jailable offense and certain class C misdemeanors.