Act Now: Support the 'Sandra Bland Act'!
A Texas state trooper's arrest of Sandra Bland for failure to signal a lane change - and her death in the Waller County jail after she couldn't make bail - captured the attention of the nation. Millions of people identified with the young teacher, who couldn't quite believe it was possible that her basic constitutional rights had become forfeit for failing to use her blinker.
Now, state Rep. Garnet Coleman has filed HB 2702, dubbed the "Sandra Bland Act," proposing an array of changes that, had they been in place at the time, would have protected her rights and her life. For example, eliminating arrests for non-jailable offenses would have prevented the episode from ever launching in the first place. If that were the law, she'd have finished her cigarette, been given a ticket, and gone on her way, grumpy but alive.
The bill also creates a presumption that nonviolent misdemeanor defendants may be released from custody unless a magistrate finds "good cause" to keep them in jail. That change would have likely ensured Ms. Bland didn't spend the weekend in jail for want of $500. The bill also includes numerous additional protections for people with mental illness and substance abuse throughout the process.
This bill will be heard soon and needs your support. Tell your Texas House member to support HB 2702 and sign on as a coauthor. Learn more about this issue here.
Take action today to prevent more Texas tragedies like Sandra Bland's untimely death!