Bullying and the Death of Sandra Bland

_SBSandra Bland died because of bullying—at the hands of a policeman. Bullying—Webster’s definition: “To intimidate with superior size and strength. To behave like a bully.” Webster’s definition of a bully: “A person who is habitually cruel to smaller or weaker people. A hired ruffian.” The policeman who pulled over Sandra Bland for an “illegal lane change” was a bully and was acting like a bully from the time he approached her car—when he ordered her to put out her cigarette, when he ordered her out of the car, when he began to forcibly removed her from her car, when he told her he would “light her up” with a taser,” when he manhandled her, when he forced her to the ground, when he hit her head against the ground, when he put his knee in her back, when he handcuffed her and put her in a transfer vehicle to jail. Sandra Bland was bullied to death. What we don’t know is just how much additional verbal and or physical bullying went on during the transport and inside the jail leading up to her death.

With the past two years suicides brought on by bullying have come to the public’s attention. Children have committed suicide because of social media bullying. Teenagers have taken their own lives because of bullying. There is a commercial about the “silence” about bullying. Families that have lost loved ones to suicides have banded together to speak out against bullies. We should do the same about the policeman bullying of Sandra Bland. We should not bury our heads in the sand and turn a blind eye because of a gun and a badge nor the character assassination of Sandra that she committed suicide. Who set in motion the chain of events that led to a woman who was headed to a new job instead being false imprisoned and jailed for three days because of a bully cop? Who set in motion the chain of events leading to her death? One person, the policeman bully who pulled her over—he is directly responsible for the death of Sandra Bland.

I for one will not swallow the “whitewashing” going on alleging marijuana in Ms. Bland’s system. She was not pulled over for driving under the influence. I personally think that certain individuals in Waller County have defamed Ms. Bland by spreading “certain” aspects of the autopsy. I don’t believe that false or exaggerated claims of “marijuana in her system should be used to subvert justice. I don’t believe the whole marijuana story period. Those involved with the pursuit of justice should likewise not be snowed by the current media repetition of alleged marijuana use by Ms. Bland. This is a concerted effort to divert attention from the bullying by a law enforcement officer and the potential for criminal and civil liability.

Is bullying too strong a word to describe what happened to Sandra Bland? Absolutely not. Bullies thrive on control of their victims. Bullies use their physical strength and position of power to exert control over their victims. Bullies use their physical strength to inflict harm on their victims. Bullies then lie and point the blame at the victim. All of these acts describe precisely the behavior of the policeman who pulled over Ms. Bland. He was a bully—a hired ruffian. His bullying began with his targeting Ms. Bland for driving alone while black on a desolate stretch of Texas highway. He then upped his bullying by provoking a fight with claims of Ms. Bland having a “bad attitude.” At no time did the dash cam show a person with a “bad attitude.” In fact it was the policeman bully who had the “bad attitude” as if he had something to prove. Ms. Bland said indeed that she was not happy with being pulled over because she was getting out of the cop’s way because he was following her. Was that good enough for this bully cop? No, his bullying got worse. At the moment of silence after Ms. Bland said, “I’m just waiting for you to do your job” in issuing a ticket—this bully cop’s ego went into overdrive by demanding that Ms. Bland put out her cigarette. This is what bullies do. They want compliance—because they are the “big dog.” And so this “big dog” bully cop took his bullying to another level of power and control. “Step out of the car.” Why because victims are supposed to do what bullies say do. If Ms. Bland had put out her cigarette it would have not satisfied this bully cop. He would found some other “fault,” such as “did you blow your cigarette smoke on me?” Anything to keep his power and control going. And so what did the bully do next? He forcibly began to remove Ms. Bland from inside her car—do as I say or I will make you do it. He threatened physical violence with a taser– “I will light you up.” And from there his aggression grew worse. And what did this bully do next—physical violence and an assault and battery on Ms. Bland, throwing her to the ground, banging her head against the ground and kneeing her in the back. Typical bullying behavior. This is why Ms. Bland could be heard saying, “So this makes you a big man.” She knew she was being bullied and that she was helpless. She said she had epilepsy to avoid further violence. What did the bully do? He said, “Good.” Bullies have their victims in a Catch 22. If you show weakness by curling up in a ball, they kick your ass anyway. If you show strength and fight back with words or your muscles they kick your ass anyway. This is what bullies do. And so this jackass bully cop got his jollies by bullying a black woman driving alone on a desolate highway deep in the heart of Texas. Would he have done the same to a white male? No. Would he have done this to a man of any color of equal size? No. Bullies pick on people whom they “size up” as weaker in size or strength. Bullies thrive on control over their victims. They become more aggressive and violent if a victim shows any sign of anything but meek compliance to their every command.

Ms. Bland died in a Texas jail because of policeman bullying—period. Now she is being defamed for allowing a bully to literally kill her. The next time a white teenager commits suicide because of bullying I for one will view that death through the same lens as we are now viewing the death of Sandra Bland.

Copyright 2015 – L. Arthalia Cravin. All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.

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