Greenville, SC (WHNS) — In Greenville, protesters gathered to remember a woman who died in Texas while in jail.
Sandra Bland, 28, was pulled over for failing to signal on July 10. During an argument with a state trooper who pulled her over, she was arrested for assaulting a public servant.
Three days later she was found dead hanging in her cell. An autopsy ruled her injuries were consistent with suicide, but her family said they don’t believe she killed herself.
“So often you hear about men being victims, young black men but there are women all races of women all ages of women,”said activist Traci Fant, who organized the ‘Say her Name’ protest in Greenville.
Fant said Sandra Bland’s death sparked today’s events and to also remember other women they said died while in the hands of law enforcement,
“It’s upsetting, very upsetting to even know that it was just a simple traffic stop and it ended in her tragic death,” said Fant.
The protesters said they don’t want the names of these women to be unknown.
“Say their names, put names with faces and you actually see that, hey, a number of females are actually killed at the hands of police,” said Shaterica Neal who attended the protest.
Fant said she hopes the future brings discussion of how law enforcement and citizens should interact with one another.
“You don’t know the brutality of the law enforcement, you don’t know the mood of the person being stopped so both ways I think that communication needs to be open,” said Fant.
Troopers in Texas said Bland was combative and uncooperative at the time of her arrest, and they said they had nothing to do with her death.
The Greenville Police Department and the Sheriff’s Office have also brought the community together to combat similar situations from happening. After an incident earlier this year involving a man with autism who was tased by police, the police department met and spoke with the community about what happened.
Similar initiatives to address the relationship between law enforcement and the community have also happened in other counties.
By Rebecca Atkins