A Texas grand jury has decided on Monday (Dec. 21) to not issue any indictments in the mysterious prison cell death of Chicago woman, Sandra Bland. Despite video evidence showing a display of excessive force from the arresting officer, the case now remains at a standstill.
Houston NBC affiliate KPRC reports:
A Waller County Grand Jury declined to indict any county jail employees in the case of Sandra Bland’s death, KPRC 2 News has learned.
The grand jury heard evidence in the Bland case for more than eight hours Monday.
“We are not going to allow what they have done in a limited, secret capacity to prevent us from doing what we need to do to get answers for the family,” Bland family attorney Cannon Lambert said Monday night.
There are other indictments the grand jury is considering, but the county would not go into detail.
The grand jury will reconvene again sometime in January.
The decision not to indict has many outside observers puzzled, especially considering the circumstances that led to the 28-year-old Bland landing in Waller County jail. While Waller County prosecutors and an outside forensic science inquiry stated that the death was self-inflicted, the Bland family continue to seek answers.
The Bland family held a news conference in Chicago regarding the grand jury’s move to not indict, and challenged how the case is being investigated by officials in Texas.
The Chicago Tribune reports:
At a news conference earlier Monday, the family of Bland said they do not believe her case is being thoroughly investigated by the Texas Rangers or properly presented to a grand jury by special prosecutors.
“Right now the biggest problem I have is the entire process,” said Bland’s mother, Geneva Reed-Veal, surrounded by her four daughters. “It’s the secrecy of it all.”
Reed-Veal said prosecutors have not sought to interview Bland’s relatives about her death last summer. She also complained that family members have not been made aware of any physical evidence being presented in court and have not been kept abreast of grand jury proceedings.
“I simply can’t have faith in a system that’s not inclusive of my family,” Reed-Veal said at a news conference in Chicago. “We’re supposed to have an investigation to show us what’s happening. We know what we’ve been listening to in the media … but we don’t have any real evidence.”
Last week, a judge in Houston set a trial date for 2017 for a wrongful death suit filed against Waller County. The Bland family and their legal representatives also questioned the curious timing of the grand jury announcement so close to the holidays as well.
As this breaking story develops, we will return with updates.