Lawmakers Hear Emotional Testimony From Sandra Bland's Mother About Bill to Change Jail Standards

AUSTIN — Two years after Sandra Bland was found dead in a Waller County jail cell after being arrested for a minor traffic violation, her mother came to the Texas Capitol to tell lawmakers to pass a bill named for her daughter that changes the "broken system" she said contributed to her daughter's death."I need you all to really think about what you have the ability and the power to do today," Geneva Reed-Veal told lawmakers in on the House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety. "While today I can only stand up for my daughter, because that is my duty ... allow me to be able to stand with you and say, 'We made change.' "The Sandra Bland Act, filed by Rep. Garnet Coleman, includes provisions geared at changing standards for police officers and jails to prevent future incidents like Bland's death. It would also increase required training for officers on de-escalation tactics, racial profiling and how to interact with people who may be mentally impaired. "I'm not used to doing bills that really have a lot of publicity," Coleman told the committee. "That was never what this has been about. It is about Sandra Bland. ... If we look at this circumstance, whether people agree or not, every step of the way all the way through to the jail tells us where we're failing in some ways in our criminal justice system."  Continue reading...

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