The state Senate in Texas unanimously passed the Sandra Bland Act last week. The gesture was meant to show that the state was unofficially claiming responsibility in her death in a Texas county jail in 2015. However, Bland’s family has come out to criticize the bill for being a stripped version of what it once was.
According to The Huffington Post, the original bill included provisions that would restrict police officers from unfair arrests and searches and require them to receive extra training after being accused of racial profiling. None of which was included in the version that passed last week.
“What the bill does in its current state renders Sandy invisible,” Sharon Cooper, Bland’s sister, told the Associated Press. “It’s frustrating and gut-wrenching.”
Instead of introducing more avenues of police accountability and defenses against profiling, the bill was used as a way to increase better mental health practices once suspects are in police custody. Many feel this is a backdoor way to put the responsibility of Bland’s death back on her.
“It should be a bill that actually takes away the issue that caused her death,” said organizer Fatima Mann. “Not this.”
I need this bill to move forward so that it will prove to people who say that Texas is the most awful state to live in,” Bland’s mother, Geneva Reed-Veal, told the AP. “And to me that’s true, because Texas is a place of pain for me.”