The Texas House County Affairs Committee has reportedly laid the groundwork for a new piece of legislation that would be known as the Sandra Bland Act. The committee’s proposed recommendations for lawmakers aims to improve de-escalation practices amongst law enforcement officials, provide more jail-to-treatment programs, and eradicate consent searches during traffic stops, reports the Texas Tribune.
From the Texas Tribune:
Fourteen recommendations in the Texas House County Affairs Committee’s recent report to lawmakers – including calls for them to increase police officer training for de-escalation and mental health awareness, to back jail-to-treatment diversion programs, and eliminate consent searches during stops – will be the foundation for the Sandra Bland Act.
State Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, announced last year that he would file the bill to address race, poverty, mental health and accountability in law enforcement and corrections.
Rep. Coleman says that Sandra Bland’s traffic stop should have never resulted in an arrest. “If you look at Sandra Bland, the incident that led to her death – that’s all you have to look at,” he told the Texas Tribune. “[Encinia] was well within his right to (arrest Bland), and that’s where we’re running into the problem. It’s baked in the cake. Injustice is baked into the cake.”
According to the outlet, the proposed recommendations calls for the DPS to note the race of individuals that are pulled over, require that jails have electronic monitoring systems that would keep track of when the staff checks on inmates, and ensure that upon being released from jail individuals who were apprehended receive the proper healthcare.
Cannon Lambert, who serves as the attorney for Sandra Bland’s family, says the measures “would change the culture of policing,” reports the source.
Bland was apprehended and jailed following a traffic stop for a minor violation on July 10, 2015. Three days after her arrest, her body was discovered hanging in her jail cell in Waller County, Texas. She was 28.