Sandra Bland’s death in a cell in Waller County Jail near Houston, Texas, started nationwide protests and conversations about the conflict relationship between race and policing.
Although a grand jury ruled on Dec. 21 that no one should be indicted in her death, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont believes the outcome would have been different if it weren’t for the color of Bland’s skin.
“Sandra Bland should not have died while in police custody. There’s no doubt in my mind that she, like too many African-Americans who die in police custody, would be alive today if she were a white woman,” Sanders said in a statement on his campaign website.
“My thoughts are with her family and her loved ones tonight. We need to reform a very broken criminal justice system.”
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Bland, who was black, was detained on June 10 after a traffic stop and her death was ruled a suicide, The Atlantic reported. Her family disputes that claim. Bland’s relatives have filed a wrongful death lawsuit which is set to go to trial in January 2017.