Respect Sandra Bland


Dear everyone,

As you all know, Sandra Bland, the 28-year-old who was arrested for not indicating when she was changing lanes, died in a jail cell in Waller County, Texas on July 13th, 2015.

A video was released on July 21st with a dashcam footage of the arrest, which consist of a conflict between Bland and Brian Encinia, the police officer that stopped and arrested Bland.

The video, in my opinion, did show some threatening behaviour from Encinia, when he decided to draw out his taser unnecessary, pointing it at Bland and shouting at her. Taking in account of the by-stander’s account of events, it did reflect some extreme unfair handling of the situation; borderline police brutality.

However, since she died I feel there is a fine line between raising awareness and disrespecting the victim’s dignity.

A mug shot was released of Bland, that was allegedly taken after she died, according to social media responses. Many have pointed out that the picture of Bland was taken while she was laying on the floor, due to the background being different than the actual wall at the Texan jail, and also the facial positioning of Bland being slanted.

But there’s another picture of the suppose real mugshot of Bland, which appears to be her eyes rolled back, which has been all over Facebook, with users insisting that it’s the real photo so they can more shares and likes.

Yes, the theories of the discrepancy in the pictures may be right, and to say that the handling of this entire situation have been totally wrong would be obvious, but posting pictures of her eyes rolled back, which could been digitally editing/enhanced, is so disrespectful for her family and her name sake.

The picture of her eyes being rolled back is disturbing enough and that could possible be a false picture. That is crossing that line by turning this into a social media farce/ a mockery of the situation.

I saw a post saying ” could people please share this post [the picture of her eyes being rolled back] because it keeps getting deleted on Facebook when I post it.” There’s a reason why, because it’s so inappropriate to say the least.  Her family wouldn’t want to see that picture as a reflection of her last moments on this earth.

Her memory should be representing her happiness through her smile, not of a disturbing picture that reflects the pain and the injustice she endured before her death. It’s worst enough for them that her death is being ruled as a suicide by the corner, and they have to fight against that fact to say that she wasn’t suicidal or suffering from depression, as many reports has suggested.

So people just remember, when you’re making a opinion or statement that is raising awareness of this tragedy or something similar, there is a fine line between being respectful, dignified and passionate, and being the complete opposite of the words just mentioned.

Yours Faithfully,

Arike Idris

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