The internet has become a campfire around which people can gather to share their thoughts, grief, and concerns. #blacklivesmatter came out as a result of the tragic deaths of African Americans like Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Now, it seems that movement has taken its next logical step.

 

On July 10, Officers in Waller County, Texas arrested Sandra Bland during a routine traffic stop, due to her “argumentative and uncooperative” demeanor. Three days later, Bland was found dead in her jail cell — asphyxiated with a plastic bag.

 

A bystander took video of her arrest and uploaded it to Youtube:

 

 

Regardless of the circumstances surrounding her death, the video of her arrest alone raises serious concerns. Towards the end of the video, Bland can be heard yelling that she cannot feel her head or arm, and that the officers had slammed her into the ground.

 

While early reports have claimed her death as an apparent suicide, many have begun to question the validity of such claims. Despite her own self-admitted battle with depression, those around her remembered her as a happy person — incapable of such an act. What’s more, Bland was stopped by police while she was driving to a job interview, and she was making significant plans for posting bail after her arrest. These acts do not indicate someone had succumbed to the demons of suicide.

 

One of the images shared using the #ifidieinpolicecustody hashtag on Twitter

One of the images shared using the #ifidieinpolicecustody hashtag on Twitter (usatoday.com)

This has sparked the hashtag “#ifidieinpolicecustody” to go viral on Twitter. In the week following her death, users of the social media platform have used the hashtag roughly 17,000 times to cover a variety of topics, ranging from potential cover-ups, to the media portrayal of dead African Americans.

 

Perhaps the most powerful aspect of the movement stems from the fact that it so bluntly addresses a systemic fear that has become all too real for a large sect of the population. Bland herself had been an active voice on the matter through her YouTube channel, giving the story an air of tragic irony.

 

Waller county investigators have begun looking into the matter, vowing to uncover the truth behind what happened to Sandra Bland. If nothing else, #ifidieinpolicecustody serves as a reminder that the eyes of the nation — if not the world — are upon the members of law enforcement involved in this incident, as well as those inevitably to come.

 

What do you think of the death of Sandra Bland? Have you noticed #ifidieinpolicecustody? Comment below or tweet @connerws to give us your input!