On July 13, 2015, the unthinkable happened to the family of Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old who was a “bright, beautiful, outspoken, bold, caring, loving and intelligent individual,” says her sister Shante Needham.
Three days after being arrested during a routine traffic stop, Bland was found hanging in a jail cell in Waller County, Texas. She had been pulled over by state trooper Brian Encinia, who told her it was because she had failed to signal a lane change. Later, dashcam footage would reveal Encinia asking Bland to put out her cigarette.
Wearing mostly white, civil rights leaders and family members gathered around Eric Garner’s grave on Sunday to mark the third anniversary of his death.
After attending a service at New Hope Baptist Church in Elizabeth, the group traveled to Linden to visit Garner’s gravesite at the Rosedale Cemetery.
His mother, Gwen Carr, had a chair and sat near her son’s headstone. In the peaceful cemetery, surrounded by other mothers who had also lost their loved ones to police, she reached down to touch his stone. “I will not give up until justice is served,” she said.
The heartbroken partner of a man who died after being restrained by police has told how her tears will not dry until she gets justice for him. Collette Bell says she has researched deaths in custody similar to boyfriend Sheku Bayoh’s and has been left “horrified”.
She also told of her grief at the loss of Sheku – who she called Sheik – and how their five-month-old son Isaac constantly reminds her of his dad.
The 27-year-old will join his family and friends at a series of events to raise funds for their campaign to find out how Sheku died.