People are looking for answers when it comes to the death of Sandra Bland. Bland, a 28-year-old Illinois native, was road-tripping to Texas to start her new job at Prairie View A&M University. But she never made it. Bland was pulled over for allegedly failing to use a signal to switch lanes. It was that traffic stop during which the cop alleged she became combative, and she was arrested and charged with “assault on a public servant.”
Three days later, Bland was found dead in her jail cell. Authorities allege that Bland hanged herself, but Bland’s family and friends aren’t buying that story. And neither is social media.
Bland’s name has been a trending hashtag for the last two days. And Thursday night, people on Twitter started echoing their own sentiments about the possibility of being killed while in police custody. #IfIDieInPoliceCustody is a sad statement about how people feel about those who are sworn to protect and serve.
— king fee (@kingfee901) July 16, 2015
#IfIDieInPoliceCustody don’t try 2 use my background and education to say I didn’t deserve this. I didn’t deserve it without degrees either
— E. Little (@ItsMrLittle) July 16, 2015
#IfIDieInPoliceCustody do not apologize on my behalf. Do not forgive. Do not forget. Express your rage to validate my humanity.
— Captain Africa (@See_Say_92) July 16, 2015
— J. Shwah (@J_Shwahh) July 16, 2015
#IFIDIEINPOLICECUSTODY, I DID NOT COMMIT SUICIDE. I DID NOT BREAK MY OWN BACK. I DID NOT CHOKE MYSELF TO DEATH. /THEY/…MURDERED ME.
— apollo 30 (@ayypollo) July 16, 2015
#IfIDieInPoliceCustody is a heartbreaking hashtag.
— deray mckesson (@deray) July 16, 2015
#IfIDieInPoliceCustody give em hell black twitter.
— thefieldnegro (@fieldnegro) July 17, 2015
#IfIDieInCustody is reminiscent of #IfTheyGunnedMeDown, which trended after the police killing of Michael Brown almost a year ago in Ferguson, Mo. Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen countless black people die at the hands of law enforcement. And in the majority of those cases, the police officers got off scot-free.
No one knows what happened to Bland. Her family deserves answers. Her friends deserve answers. And no one deserves to live in fear of law enforcement. But unfortunately, this is a harsh reality we deal with.