HOUSTON, Texas — One year ago today, Sandra Bland died in a small county jail cell just 25 miles northwest of Houston. The deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, the recent Black Lives Matter protests, and the execution of five officers in Dallas, have made the anniversary date even more concerning.
Sandra Bland is the young black woman who was found dead in a Waller County, Texas, jail cell three days after she was arrested by a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper (DPS). The police dashcam video of the traffic stop showed that the officer brandished a Taser and told her, “I’ll light you up.” An autopsy ruled she committed suicide with a plastic bag.
Like Castile and Sterling, a video of the traffic stop and Sandra Bland’s arrest went viral. Castile and Sterling‘s events were also live streamed. Hearings were held in the Texas Capitol after her death to investigate and determine whether jail procedures and other changes should be made. Breitbart Texas was at the hearing when a conservative Republican State Representative, Jonathan Stickland (R-Bedford) told the DPS director – “A lot of people are afraid of you guys.”
The messages of hatred towards whites and the police were clear in chants of Black Lives Matter activists, and New Black Panther Party protesters who gathered at the small county jail in the weeks following her death.
Breitbart Texas took the video that captured a group of heavily-armed Black Panthers shouting “Off the Pigs,” and “Oink Oink … Bang Bang!”
During one of the chants the group shouted in a back and forth marching-style cadence:
The revolution is on, said the chant leader. Off the pigs, the group chanted back. The chant continues, Time to pick up the gun … Off the pigs. No more pigs in my community… Off the pigs. No more brothers in jail … Off the pigs. No more sisters in jail … Off the pigs. The pigs are gonna get scared … Off the pigs. The pigs are gonna get dead … Off the pigs.
Many of the members of the group were armed with shotguns, hunting rifles, and AR-15 style assault rifles. Deputies from the Harris County Sheriff’s Office were at the jail that day in large numbers. There were nearly 75 deputies, ten mounted deputies, a mobile command post, an observation aircraft, and a helicopter, all there to ensure the peace.
Most looked like they were simply holding their weapon; however, one of the Black Panthers took an aggressive grip on his weapon holding his rifle with his finger indexed slightly above the trigger.
The sniper who killed the Dallas police officers was a member of the militant Houston New Black Panther Party.
One of the members holding that AR-15 style rifle appears to be Micah Xavier Johnson, the suspect who was killed with a bomb after the sniper ambush of white police officers in Dallas.
Breitbart Texas was at the Waller County jail for protests on another occasion and reported when a protester told reporters and others present, that all white people should be killed. She also called white people and reporters, “terrorists.” Her orders – “go back into the cave where you came from.” When asked whether she really believed that, she responded, “You’re damn right I do! You think I am scared to say that to you?!”
“Sunshine”, as she calls herself, said, “You see this nappy-ass hair on my head? … That means I am one of those more militant Negroes.” While she stood in front of the small county jail she added, “these redneck mother-f**kers murdered Sandra Bland because she had nappy hair like me.”
Breitbart Texas took video at a large protest that became violent after a confrontation broke out between some of the protesters and Waller County Sheriff’s Office deputies. A group of people with the Black Lives Matter rally barged into the lobby of the sheriff’s office and jail and began shouting and pounding on windows and doors. The group had to be forcibly removed by deputies.
“Sunshine” took to her Texas-based radio show during these weeks and continued her propagation of hate speech against both whites and police. On her program, “Sunshine’s F***ing Opinion Radio Show,” people called in and demanded that people take to the streets in gangs and lynch white people and kill cops.
The same day, another black man, Shannon Juraury Miles allegedly walked up to a uniformed Harris County Deputy Sheriff, Darren Goforth, and fired multiple rounds from a handgun into the back of his head. He continued firing his weapon into the deputy’s back as Goforth lay dying, and dead, on the ground.
Officer Goforth’s execution came within less than two weeks of the calls for the killing of whites and cops by these Black Panther members and militant Black Lives Matter protesters. He was also murdered just thirty miles down the road from the Waller County jail.
During a press conference in Harris County, Texas, after the Houston area deputy was executed, Sheriff Ron Hickman answered media inquiries as to the motivation of this alleged killer. “This rhetoric has gotten out of control.”
“We’ve heard ‘black lives matter,’ ‘all lives matter,’ well cops’ lives matter too,” said the leader of the third largest sheriff’s office in the country. The visibly emotional Hickman continued, “Why don’t we just drop the qualifier and say ‘lives matter.’ Take that to the bank.” “At this point,” referring to the executed deputy, the sheriff said, “he was only targeted because he was wearing a uniform.”
Racially-diverse special prosecutors were appointed in the Sandra Bland case. The grand jury was also racially-diverse. The trooper who arrested Bland, Officer Brian Encinia, was eventually indicted for misdemeanor perjury and was fired from his job. The grand jury did not believe Encinia’s statement in the probable cause affidavit where he said, “I had Bland exit the vehicle to further conduct a safe traffic investigation.” This became the basis for the perjury charge.
Two internal jail forms completed by Bland showed that although she alleged she had tried to commit suicide in 2014 after a miscarriage, she said she was not contemplating suicide at the time she was admitted into the Waller County jail. CNN also reported that an inmate who was in a cell adjacent to Bland told them she did not hear any commotion or screaming that would suggest foul play. The woman, Alexandria Pyle, also told CNN that, “She found out her bond was $5,000, and no one — she was calling and calling — and no one was answering, and then after that she just broke down. She was crying and crying.”
After Bland’s death in the jail, Waller County Sheriff R. Glenn Smith immediately notified the Texas Rangers. He said the Rangers arrived within the hour of his notifying them. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was also actively involved in an investigation. The Waller County Sheriff said he provided all documentation to outside investigative agencies. He also called for an independent investigation and the formation of an outside sheriff’s commission to evaluate jail procedures, jail personnel, and other issues.
Neither Waller County Sheriff R. Glenn Smith or his jailers have been found negligent or complicit in Bland’s death. Smith was unable to talk to Breitbart Texas on the morning of the anniversary of Bland’s death because he was in depositions. As reported in early August, the mother of Sandra Bland immediately filed a federal civil rights lawsuit on behalf of herself and Bland’s estate.