Where have I been? I just saw the video recently of the arrest of Sandra Bland, which of course happened in Texas in 2015. In addition to the arrest video, I also listened to PBS, a news source that covered the case and reported on the death of Sandra Bland several days later as she was found dead in her jail cell.
I don’t know the details about what happened to her while in jail, but I did want to comment on the video because it was disturbing.
Why was it disturbing? …
Because “we the people” are said to have certain rights, especially when dealing with those in law enforcement and public officials.
We are led to believe those rights are clear-cut and black and white, but for some reason, when we actually find ourselves in those situations where we are confronted with law enforcement, black and white becomes grayish. For some reason, our rights become compromised and scrutinized under technicalities.
Let me give you my opinion based on what I saw.
The officer pulled her over for failing to signal while changing lanes. When he was standing at her window, it seemed to bother him that she was upset.
At that point, when her demeanor was bothering him, he should’ve turned and walked to his vehicle where he would’ve carried out his responsibilities of checking for warrants and issuing a summons.
The last time I checked, sitting quietly in our cars with an upset look on our faces while being pulled over wasn’t against the law.
Now, we can’t even look upset! (exaggeration, but you get the point)
Instead of walking to his car, he comments on her demeanor and tells her she looks upset. She confesses and says, “Yes, I am upset. I saw you driving close, and I thought you were trying to pass so I quickly switched lanes to get out of your way, but you pulled me over.”
Still she hasn’t done anything wrong.
The officer ignores her response and asks her to put out her cigarette, and that’s where it all went wrong. She told him she was in her car smoking, and she was allowed to do so, but he didn’t like that response.
Eventually, he forces her out of her car and places her under arrest.
Wow! So where did our rights become compromised here? Officials said we do have rights, and she is allowed to smoke in her car during a traffic stop, but if a police officer asks you to do something you’re supposed to do it and not argue back.
Okay, obviously that statement is a problem. Either we have the right or we don’t have the right.
It can’t be… we have the right until we’re asked not to flex it. Our rights need to be respected, and we shouldn’t be asked to do something we don’t have to do just because a public official or law enforcement official is upset.
Obviously, the police officer was wrong for asking her to put her cigarette out, and because he was “OVERREACHING” he escalated the situation to a level it should’ve never reached.
I know it’s five years after the fact, but we can all learn something from this. What happened to Sandra Bland should never happen again.
What is our right in this situation?
Write in! Let me know what you think. Where you in a situation like this?