Armed Black Panther Party members protest Sandra Bland arrest, death

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HEMPSTEAD, Texas (AP) – Dozens of heavily armed demonstrators rallied in Southeast Texas to protest the arrest and jail-cell death of a black woman arrested after a confrontation with a white state trooper during a traffic stop.

About 25 demonstrators led by the New Black Panther Party marched Wednesday afternoon outside the Waller County jail in Hempstead. A riot response team of mounted Harris County sheriff’s deputies from Houston looked on.

Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old Chicago-area woman, was found dead in her jail cell July 13, three days after her arrest, in what authorities say was suicide.

Bland’s family has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against officials, including the trooper who stopped Bland for not signaling a lane change.

There were no arrests in the two-hour demonstration in Hempstead, about 50 miles northwest of Houston.

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