HHBMedia | Sandra was human.

Anger was the first emotion I had when reading the recent (or not so recent) reports of police brutality and senseless killings of unarmed black Americans. Sympathy followed soon behind, but never fear. Not until I watched the dashboard cam footage of Sandra Bland’s unwarranted arrest.

I guess it never really hit home for me until I saw myself leaving my vehicle in a maxi dress and being bullied by threats of getting “lit up” by the police officer’s taser. And I say “myself” not to take anything away from Sandra Bland… It’s just… I saw myself in Sandra’s place when watching the footage, and heard myself when listening to the audio, and felt a pit in my stomach and lump in my throat as I tried to picture myself handling the situation any differently than she did. Truth is, I would’ve reacted – to the T – the exact same way.

 

I mentioned in my last post that I’ve always been a “rebel”; not easy to back down when facing authority, especially when I know my rights. And after watching a few #SandySpeaks, I see that Sandra and I have a lot in common; educated black women who weren’t going to back down from anything, especially not an antagonistic police officer and his inappropriate threats. My mom always told me that my mouth would get me into trouble one day. How much trouble? I never knew – at least not until Sandra showed me.

Sandra was confident and sure of herself. There wasn’t a meek bone in her body. She knew her rights, and dedicated her adult life to educating other young people of theirs. She acknowledged her humanness, and refused to compromise her position for anyone. I love this about her – I love this about me.

 

Can you imagine? Getting pulled over for a reason that you, or anyone else for that matter, aren’t 100% sure of? And as you pull over, the cop, whose sole job is to protect and serve, acts as a bully instead of a civil servant. He goes out of his way to annoy you, antagonizing your, now not-so-friendly, mood – Demands that you put out your cigarette which, by the way, you’re well within your rights to smoke.

Instead of telling you why he pulled you over initially or simply writing you a ticket, he points out that you’re being rude and demands that you exit your vehicle. Standing up for yourself, informing him that you know your rights and choosing to stay in your car is conveniently met with threats of “lighting you up” with his taser.

At this point, the taser is aimed at your skull, and you, being the educated black woman that you are, know very well that electric shots to the brain can quickly result in brain damage, so you choose to obey by his ridiculousness and get out of your car. He roughhouses your 6-foot tall frame to the ground for “not using a traffic signal” and handcuffs you. Puts you in the back of the police car and books you in the county jail.

I can’t.

 

Sandra handled the situation just as I would’ve. Whether you say she was “rude” or “had an attitude” she was well within her right. I would’ve copped a crazy attitude too.

 

Humans are allowed to have emotions.

Getting annoyed with a police officer does not warrant an arrest.

He antagonized the hell out of her.

 

He bullied her, and you all are victim-shaming Sandra?

 

Where is your dignity?

 

This whole situation is strange.  A suspicious mug shot, a 6-foot tall woman suspected of hanging herself, and an edited dashboard camera video just doesn’t make sense to me. Either way, the blood ultimately falls on the hands of Brian Encinia; for without his wildly inappropriate conduct Sandra Bland would still be alive, and this post would not have been born.

Sandra was smart. Sandra was tired. Sandra was human.

Stand up for yourselves, and for Sandra Bland.

 

*** This piece was originally published on HHBMedia.com in August 2015