After Bland's death, lawmakers to discuss profiling practices

Lawmakers discuss Sandra Bland case

TEXAS - More than one year after Sandra Bland's controversial arrest and her death, state lawmakers are meeting Tuesday to discuss profiling practices in an attempt to prevent situations like Bland's from happening again.

Specifically, lawmakers will discuss "pretextual traffic stops." This is when an officer stops a driver for a minor violation in order to investigate a separate and unrelated suspected criminal offense. 

After Bland's death, lawmakers and others took a hard look at the numbers to see how often this practice happens. They found significant racial disparities in the searches conducted on people of color during traffic stops compared to white people.

At the hearing, lawmakers will also discuss de-escalation techniques in relation to an officer's use of force.

The hearing, scheduled to take place at the Texas State Capitol at 10 a.m., is a precursor for the "Sandra Bland Act" which will be filed in the upcoming session. Her family is fighting for jail reform.

"On this entire journey I've met many mothers who always wanted, legislatively, something to be done. Who always wanted changes in the jail to be done or at least someone to say, "You know what, you're right. We're going to look at this and we're going to do something about it,'" said Geneva Reed-Veal, Bland's mother.

Last week, Bland's family reached a $1.9 million settlement with the Department of Public Safety and Waller County. It requires employees at the Waller County Jail to use a new electronic system to make sure they conduct accurate and timely cell checks. Additionally, staff will be re-trained and have continuing education and a nurse or EMT will be on staff at all times. Waller County legislators are working to implement these measures across the state.



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