On July 10, 2015, Texas State Trooper Brian Encinia conducted a traditional traffic stop of Sandra Bland who ended up being arrested and charged with assaulting a police officer. Dash cam footage showed her being belligerent with the officer who is seen losing his cool and off camera, forced her on the ground to make an arrest. Three days later, Bland was reportedly found hanging in her cell which police claimed was a suicide.

Law enforcement groups not finished with Sandra Bland

The incident took place during a time where there were overwhelming headlines of police officers killing unarmed black citizens, or using excessive force.

Both her arrest and her death triggered mass protests and would eventually lead to the writing of the Sandra Bland Act which was authored by Democratic Texas Senator John Whitmire. Of the changes the act was trying to introduce was a legislative regulation on racial profiling by police departments. The legislation would also create limits to what officers can do before making an arrest.

It should be noted that police departments lobbied Texas lawmakers and made the argument that the Sandra Bland Act would make their jobs harder, and as the bill went through the Texas House of Representatives and the Senate, many of the provisions that were on the bill were altered or dropped. Sandra's sister Sharon Cooper told the Texas Tribune that the final bill was a missed opportunity and had expressed disappointment in the final outcome.

And though Whitmire did author the bill, the Texas Tribune suggests that he struck a lot of the provisions from the original bill perhaps under pressure from police groups who, again, felt that the Act would add too many extra steps for them to conduct a consent search.

Republican-led Congress defend officers

Rep. Garnet Coleman had expressed disappointment that the bill was whittled down so much, revealing every indication that police groups were involved in preventing the act from holding them accountable for using excessive force on stops.

Overall, Bland's arrest only shows that she was being argumentative with the officer over which Cooper felt was not enough for them to arrest Sandra and that they should have sent her on her way with a citation.

Much of the narrative around the woman's case is that she "suffered" from depression or was mentally unstable, for which the bill does make some changes to having those who are pulled over and might have mental health issues go to a treatment center rather than jail.

Whitmire, attempted to put a positive spin on the outcome and saying that it was already a sign of progress. But since the Texas legislature is Republican-led, as a party organization, they are harder to convince that police violence against black citizens exists as they ideologically believe officers should have more flexibility to conduct arrests and are within their own right to take action.

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