Texas Enshrines “Sandra Bland Act” as Law After Police Encounter

Texas Enshrines “Sandra Bland Act” as Law After Police Encounter

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Texas lawmakers have just passed the “Sandra Bland Act”: a mental health bill that addresses issues involved with the death of 28-year-old Sandra Bland two years ago.

The bill requires any Texan detainees with mental health or substance issues to immediately be given treatment. It also makes it easier for those with mental health or substance abuse problems to make bond.

Additionally, the legislation will require all Texas police officers to be given de-escalation training; and it will require independent law agencies to investigate police killings.

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Though the bill was revised by lawmakers to exclude legislation requiring additional proof of arrest for fineable offenses, the bill is hailed as a step in the right direction.

The provisions concerning more warranted police interference were penned in light of Sandra Bland’s arrest, which occurred during a routine traffic stop when Bland failed to use her turn signal. The police officer’s body camera captured the escalating situation that eventually led to Bland’s arrest. Three days after she was arrested, Bland was found dead in her cell. Her death was then ruled as a suicide.

“The Sandra Bland Act will prevent traffic stops from escalating by ensuring that all law-enforcement officers receive de-escalation training for all situations as part of their basic training and continuing education,” said Democratic state Rep. Granet Coleman of Houston, who wrote and introduced the original Sandra Bland Act.

Since Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed the bill on Thursday, it is projected to go into full effect on September 1st.

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(Photo by Sandra Bland)

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