Sandra Bland may or may not have committed suicide in her cell, but either way, she was killed by racism. Specifically, she was killed by Brian Encinia, the white highway cop who harassed her, threatened her, roughed her up, and arrested her. His punishment, most likely, will be loss of his job. Big deal.
From the dashboard video of Encinia's cruiser, and his interaction with Bland, it's not difficult to reconstruct what led up to their confrontation. Bland was doing the speed limit, always a good idea if you happen to be "Driving While Black." (We can be sure she was traveling at precisely the speed limit because Encinia did not charge her with speeding.) Seeing a black female with out-of-state plates, Encinia played the tailgate game — pulling up dangerously close behind her. This is a favorite game of highway cops, and if you've been driving for any length of time, it's probably been played on you. You pull over to the right, and hope he just goes on by.
Sadly, Bland neglected to signal. It's understandable, because one tends to panic a bit under the circumstances, especially if one is a black female with out-of-state plates. If she'd signaled, ninety-nine to one he'd have found some other pretense for hassling her. He asks if she's upset. Of course she's upset, you racist, misogynous, fascist asshole! You want her to be upset.
We all know what happened until she moved out of the range of the dashboard camera. The next thing we see is a cell phone video of Bland, handcuffed and on the ground, with Encinia holding her down. He claims she kicked him, and that's why she was jailed on $5000 bail. The only evidence of her "assault on an officer" is Encinia's word.
All cops lie. Bad cops lie a hell of a lot. What happened off-camera is anybody's guess. What happened on-camera, though, is egregious, like when Encinia threatened to "light her up" with his Taser. Unfortunately, police work attracts far too many individuals with
personality disorders like Encinia's. We can't just eliminate the
so-called "bad apples," because then the barrel probably would be half-empty. The culture of policing has to change.
You can't answer "Black Lives Matter" with "All Lives Matter" until black lives stop mattering so much less than white lives — until black lives are no longer habitually pushed aside or tossed away. There continues to be a significant advantage in being a white male, and it's time we white males admitted as much.