A Texas grand jury decided on Monday that no indictments would be issued relating to the death of Sandra Bland, an African-American woman who died by hanging in an apparent suicide three days after being jailed following a traffic stop this summer.
Bland was found dead in her Waller County jail cell on July 13 after getting into an argument with a Texas state trooper who stopped her for a minor traffic violation then said she assaulted him. Authorities say she killed herself — but her family and supporters have strongly refuted the claims, insisting she was in an optimistic state of mind at the time of her arrest, and looking forward to a new job.
Inconsistencies in documents pertaining to Bland's arrest and detention, allegations that police footage of her encounter with the trooper was edited, along with her family's insistence that she was not suicidal, meant some members of the public were wary of evidence that jail officials provided about her death earlier in the year.
The grand jury failed to reach a decision on whether the trooper who arrested Bland will face charges, and will reconvene in January to reconsider that issue, reported the Chicago Tribune.
"It has been a very, very long day. For us, as well as the grand jury," Jordan told reporters. "After presenting all the evidence as it relates to the death of Sandra Bland, the grand jury did not return an indictment. The grand jury also considered things that occurred at the jail and did not return an indictment. There are other issues that the grand jury is still considering, and they will take up those issues when we return next month,"
In August, Bland's family filed a wrongful death suit against a Texas trooper, a sheriff's office and her jailers, accusing them of being responsible for her hanging.
Bland was pulled over in her car on July 10 by state trooper Brian Encinia for failing to signal a lane change in Prairie View, about 50 miles northwest of Houston.
The stop escalated into a verbal altercation after Encinia asked Bland to put out a cigarette and she refused. Bland was arrested and charged with assaulting an officer, a felony.
The discovery of Bland's body in her cell three days later with a trash bag around her neck raised suspicions of racist treatment. Local officials have said she was not mistreated in jail.