1.9 Million Settlement in Wrongful Death of Sandra Bland
As a black woman, it is very disheartening to watch the out of control ego of the trooper who became angry at Sandra Bland because she questioned why he asked her to put out a cigarette that she was smoking in her own car.
Even more unbelievable is the fact that he ordered her to get out of her car, during a stop for a minor traffic violation, because she questioned why he asked her to put out the cigarette.
In response, he exerted behavior that appeared out of control. He threatened to taser her, and he used physical force to actually pull her body out of her car.
It is upsetting to see yet another woman in the news being treated in a disrespectful and violent manner by a representative of the law, who equipped with a badge, a gun, a taser, and the authority behind that badge to call the shots, oversteps boundaries.
Aside from the fact that officer Brian Encinia pulled Ms. Bland over for not having signaled, after according to her, “he was tailgating her and she pulled over to allow him to pass.” History has revealed too often researched and documented facts that blacks are victims of racial profiling by police officers.
At the point in which he asked her to put out her cigarette, she was in her car. There had been no physical contact between Ms. Bland and the officer. She had not kicked him. She had been as respectful in spite of her frustrations. Being respectful up to that point did not matter. Encinia seemed determined to pick a fight.
(Article to this point written by Jolie A. Doggett, (Huffington Post).
To insist that she get out of her car because she did not want to put out her cigarette was a matter of the officer being lead by his ego in making his demands.
Whenever a civilian is in the presence of a law official, one would think that it is a safe place to be. However, too often in the news of late, the world is able to see video recordings that document that being in police custody can be a very dangerous place to be.
The video of how Ms. Bland was spoken to and handled by the officer saddens me.
I re-live my own frustrations of being a black woman in the presence of campus police officers, on the campus of Rutgers University, in New Jersey. When I called campus police while experiencing a housemate out of control, kicking my dorm room door, using profanity, while threatening to attack me, upon leaving the scene, the officer winked at her, as he said to her, “Behave yourself now.”
A housemate wrote to me in an email after the incident had occurred, that the officer said to the white student who had threatened me that “he did not know why he was there.”
I realized that my complaint had not been taken seriously.
When the same student, on a different day, called with an incident report against me, she was escorted away in a patrol car “for her protection.” Historically, white women were more likely to receive the protection of the law, while black women were more likely to be demonized.
When they arrived at the house in response to her call, I was in my dorm room, but officers did not bother to knock on my door to ask me what had happened, as they had knocked on her door when I had called them, to substantiate with me, her claims against me.
My encounter is a minor incident, as compared to that of Sandra Bland, but my point is that incidents such as the one I experienced, when allowed to happen, feeds the egos of such officers, and thus some officers feel safe treating blacks in a racist manner.
Overwhelmingly black women, like black men are not treated fairly in this country by law officials, and many would argue that it is in most cases simply because of our race and the color of our skin.
I was asked by a reporter what I thought of Dylan Roof, the 21 year old who killed nine members of Mother Emanuel Church, in Charleston, South Carolina, where I live.
I told him that Dylan Roof was “Made In America.” He is a product of the United States of America, just like clothing or fruit labeled with a tag that reads ‘made in the U.S.A.”
He is 21 years old, and considered a man, but he was first a child who was born, nurtured, and raised on America’s soil. He is a part of the fabric of our society.
It is sad to say that his racist attitudes are reflective of a society he grew up in – in this country; A country that has throughout its history, legalized racist acts against blacks.
He was born into a country that legally thrived off a system of institutionalized slavery that considered people with black and brown skin property, and not people. He grew up in a society that has throughout its history, stereotyped blacks as being less than human.
I imagine that he has listened to, and has watched news reports of how blacks live their lives in this country, as well as reports on what the values of black folk are perceived to be – as reported through the judgmental editorial eyes of news reporters concerned more about their ratings than taking the time to research and report facts.
Dylan Roof no doubt knows the history of black leaders who have been assassinated in this country simply for trying to bring about equality for blacks, and unity among blacks and whites, so that we can live in harmony in this country.
The perspective that that he holds of blacks that “you are raping our woman and taking over ‘our’ country,” had to have come from some misguided source of information.