Sandra Bland's sister: She's 'literally speaking for herself even beyond her grave' in video

The sister of Sandra Bland, who died in police custody in 2015 after an arrest during a traffic stop, told CNN Tuesday that Bland is “speaking for herself even beyond her grave” after new footage of her arrest was revealed.

“I think there is this general swath of understanding that police, law enforcement, are sworn to serve and protect, and sometimes that’s viewed as by any means necessary,” Bland’s sister Sharon Cooper said. “The reason that we continue to hear the call for greater accountability is because here are instances, and Sandra’s instance in particular, where she’s literally speaking for herself even beyond her grave.”


Bland’s capacity to give her side of the story years after her death, Cooper added, demonstrated that “even those who are being impacted by situations where there is excessive use of force, there is indelible proof that these things are happening.”

However, she added, the length of time it took for the footage to become public indicates that “there is an effort to conceal such things, and a hope to not reveal some of the bad behavior that continues to go on by some law enforcement officials with regard to engaging with citizens, especially those citizens of color.”

The previously undisclosed video, uncovered by Dallas-area ABC affiliate WFAA earlier this week, shows a Texas Department of Public Safety officer demanding Bland exit her car during the traffic stop and saying “I will light you up” while pointing his stun gun at her. Bland’s family had not seen the footage until WFAA showed it to them.  

The revelation has prompted calls to reopen the investigation into her death, including from members of Bland’s family and two Texan Democratic presidential candidates, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D) and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro.