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Police Accountability Measures Removed from ‘Sandra Bland Act’

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The state of Texas is still feeling the effects from the 2015 death of Sandra Bland, who was found hanging in a Waller County jail after being arrested during a traffic stop by a White state trooper.

The Texas legislature has since put in place the “Sandra Bland Act,” which was initially meant to hold police departments with patterns of civil rights abuses accountable. Instead, the state lawmakers have taken away those measures and the “Sandra Bland Act” now mainly focuses on better jail trailing and mental health care access.

Democrats say they did the best they could go up against a Republican-controlled legislature. The bill was cleared this week by the Senate and now has to clear the House.

Bland’s sister, Sharon Cooper, told the Associated Press she is not happy with the “Sandra Bland Act” in its current state.

“What the bill does in its current state renders Sandy invisible. It’s frustrating and gut-wrenching,” she said.

Cooper said the bill “isolates the very person it seeks to honor.”

“It painfully misses the mark for us,” she said.

Texas Democratic state Rep. Garnet Coleman, was a sponsor of the original bill, and understands how Cooper feels.

“I share her displeasure… This is not what any of us wanted,” he said.  “She should be upset and not pleased with the results because we all hoped for more.”

In the state of Texas, it’s clearly an uphill battle getting any type of bill passed that would hold law enforcement accountable for their infractions.

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