Tag: Sandra Bland Parkway

Texas City Votes to Leave in Place Street Name Changed to Honor Sandra Bland

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Sandra Bland (photo via FACEBOOK)

The newly-minted Sandra Bland Parkway in Prairie View, Texas, will keep its name.

The Prairie View City Council voted Tuesday to keep the name for a road that leads into Prairie View A&M University and was renamed this summer in honor of Bland, who died at the Waller County Jail in July after she arrested during a traffic stop, according to KHOU.

Police said Bland was found hanging in her cell after the July 10 arrest. But suspicions arose after the release of a police dashcam video of Bland’s traffic stop and arrest. An officer had stopped Bland for failing to signal a lane change, but their encounter became confrontational, and the officer arrested her for allegedly assaulting him.

To ease tensions in the community, the City Council voted in August to change the name of University Boulevard to Sandra Bland Parkway. It is the same stretch of road on which she was stopped and arrested. Not everyone agreed with the name change, and city leaders on Tuesday heard from a divided community on the issue. But lawmakers decided to keep the new name in honor of Bland, who had moved back to Texas in July to take a job with her alma mater, Prairie View A&M University.

“The whole world is talking about Sandra Bland,” said one supporter from the council podium, reports the news outlet. “And Sandra Bland is putting Prairie View on the map.”

When the street was renamed in August, ABC 13 reported that hundreds of Prairie View A&M alumni gathered with current students to march from the student-union building to the site where Bland was stopped, and then on to City Hall, where the street was renamed.

“If every time they pull over a student, they have to be reminded of what took place here, then that will help the relationship to be more respectful between the officers and the students,” protester Hannah Bonner told the news station in August.

Read more at KHOU.

article by Lynette Holloway via theroot.com

Street Sandra Bland Stopped On Renamed in Her Honor

Prairie View City Council members in Texas are hoping a road renamed after activist Sandra Bland will serve as a constant reminder of the injustices they say she suffered in Waller County, USA Today reports.

City officials are also hopeful that the road, which leads to Bland’s alma mater, Prairie View A&M University, will also encourage law enforcement to make better choices and always follow best practices when making stops on University Drive, which will become Sandra Bland Parkway for three to five years before the council votes on the matter again.

“I am overwhelmed, and I am just truly thankful to the city of Prairie View,” Geneva Reed-Veal, Bland’s mother, said in a press conference here after the decision to rename the road.

“This is the first step, the very first step,” Reed-Veal said. “There’s still so much more that needs to be done.”

Bland, 28, was stopped on the same road July 10 for allegedly failing to signal a lane change. When Texas state Trooper Brian Encinia felt his power threatened by Bland’s wit and matter-of-fact tone, he arrested her on a charge of assaulting a public servant.

She was found hanging in her jail cell three days after her arrest, a death that has been ruled a suicide but is also being treated like a murder investigation. According to CNN, the Texas Rangers and the FBI are investigating Sandra’s death.

“It is very much too early to make any kind of determination that this was a suicide or a murder because the investigations are not complete,” Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis told reporters. “This is being treated like a murder investigation.”

Mathis said the case would go to a grand jury.

“There are too many questions that still need to be resolved. Ms. Bland’s family does make valid points that she did have a lot of things going on in her life that were good,” Mathis said.

Earlier this month, family members filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against arresting officer Encinia and two guards at the Waller County Jail where Bland died, along with the Texas Department of Public Safety and the county. The New York Times reports that the lawsuit states Encinia made up a reason to arrest Sandra and that jailers failed to react when she refused meals and “had bouts of uncontrollable crying.”

Bland’s family maintains that she never should have been stopped and arrested and they want the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate.

article via blackamericaweb.com