Sandra Bland's Death Inspires Chilling #IfIDieInPoliceCustody Twitter Trend

As the FBI and Texas Rangers look into the cause of death of Sandra Bland last week, purported by Waller County Jail to be a suicide by hanging, Twitter users have turned her cause into a new, depressing rally cry. The hashtag #IfIDieInPoliceCustody has been trending all weekend, as Black people use it to express their fear that they could be the victims of police brutality while in custody. This also follows the Baltimore death of Freddie Gray, for which the six officers involved in his arrest are under indictment.

These tweets look like 140 character last will and testaments to readers. They're also giving voice to Bland, who can no longer speak for herself. The 28-year-old had been arrested on July 10 after a traffic stop, during which police said she kicked an officer.


Bland's friends and family have said that Bland was not suicidal, and was actively trying to arrange for her release on $5,000 bail. While a prosecutor pointed to a video she posted on Facebook revealing she suffered from depression, her family's lawyer says a the video is not proof of her mental state at the time of her death.

As one Twitter user points out, some #IfIDieInPoliceCustody tweets could come across as shaming those who do suffer from depression and suicidal feelings.

But what's important about these statements is the fear of police violence has become (or has always been) so prevalent among people of color in this country.


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