Bill Would Put A Stop To Sandra Bland-Like Traffic Stops

It will call for an end to pretext stops – when a police officer pulls over a driver on a minor traffic stop, then asks to search the driver’s vehicle.

By Ryan E. PoppeSeptember 21, 2016 8:15 am| , , ,

From Texas Public Radio

African Americans are 75 times more likely to be pulled over and searched by a police officer than a white driver, that’s according to 2012 national study published by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Some members of the Texas House of Representatives County Affairs committee are convinced, Texas is no exception.

Which is one of the reasons the committee’s Chairman Garnet Coleman, a Houston Democrat, says he’s authoring a bill for the legislative session beginning in January. It will call for an end to pretext stops.

That’s when a police officer pulls over a driver on a minor traffic stop, then asks to search the driver’s vehicle.

“Which is being defined as a ‘stop and frisk’ in a car,” Coleman says. “And these are things where I think we start to see disparities that lend themselves as being viewed as profiling of certain individuals.”

Coleman believes that’s what happened when former DPS Trooper Brian Encina pulled over Sandra Bland for an improper lane change.  The trooper asked her to step out of the car.

Bland was later found hanging in her cell after jail staff failed to list her as a potential risk for suicide.

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