Sandra Bland's Sister Speaks Out: 'My Sister Died Because A Police Officer Saw Her As A Threatening Black Woman'
"'Liberty and justice for all' aren't as linear of a concept as I naively believed."
"Despite all of the work I’ve done over the past four years to piece myself back together after her untimely death, I became unraveled as I was reminded of what I’ve always known: My sister died because a police officer saw her as a threatening black woman rather than human," Sharon Cooper wrote in a contributor piece to USA Today.
Cooper says that when she watched the cellphone video taken from her late sibling's vantage point, she was immediately reminded of where she was four years ago, writing her 28-year-old sister’s obituary on tear-stained paper.
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"The prevailing thought in my mind was: 'This is hard, but I know her death will not be in vain because this is America and we’ll get justice,'" she wrote. "This is America. A country that is built on the promise that all people are created equal with access to freedom and the pursuit of happiness. A country that promises innocent until proven guilty."
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Bland, 28, was arrested in 2015 by a Texas state trooper during a traffic stop. She was found dead in her jail cell three days later. Her death was ruled a suicide. Up until the cellphone video, the main record of Bland's arrest came from the state trooper's dashboard camera.
That "glitchy dashcam footage," as Cooper calls it, as well as the "intentional assassination" of Bland's character by referring to her as "not a model person" left Cooper questioning whether justice would prevail as she had originally believed.
"What I’ve learned from this ordeal is that those five words "liberty and justice for all" aren't as linear of a concept as I naively believed," she wrote, adding that the evidence her sister left behind shows that the officer in her case "lied."
"Though perjury charges against him were dropped, what happened in court isn't the sole measure of justice," Cooper concluded. "My sister was unafraid. Her strength gives us the power to continue to fight for her and say her name."
Read Cooper's full piece here.
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