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Sandra Bland: Officer Claims He Was ‘Threatened’ by Prosecutors

A police officer in the small Texas town where Sandra Bland, a Black woman who died in a jail cell after a traffic stop, says the county's top prosecutors threatened to end his career if he came forward with what he says is evidence of wrongdoing, an accusation the prosecutors deny.

Prairie View officer Michael Kelley said this week that he wanted to tell a grand jury that Bland appeared to have marks on her forehead after a confrontation with state trooper Brian Encinia, who pulled her over last July for allegedly failing to signal while changing a lane.

Officer Kelly also said that Encinia was on the phone with a supervisor after arresting her because he didn't know what charge she should face, and the police report Encinia ultimately submitted left out key details. Kelley said he was never contacted by special prosecutors handling the case, and the Waller County district attorney's top assistant said there would be repercussions if he spoke to a Bland family attorney.

Prosecutors have strongly denied Kelley's allegations. Bland was found dead three days after the traffic stop in a county jail cell. Authorities ruled her death a suicide.

But the incident galvanized the national Black Lives Matter movement and others protesting recent police misconduct, all of whom said she was mistreated and shouldn't have been arrested. 


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