As I was driving around the burg this morning doing the daily tasks I take for granted, I heard on my radio the audio of Sandra Bland's encounter with the Prairie View, Texas policeman. My heart constricted in dread of what was in store for her. This was a woman who was literally getting out of his way in consideration of the policeman's authority. As we all do when an emergency vehicle approaches us from behind, she pulled over without signaling to let him by more quickly. What a cruel irony that her action gave him the excuse he needed to harass her.
What followed was difficult to hear. He expected full compliance to his every command, and what he got was questioning of his authority by a black woman. With every one of her refusals to comply followed by an inquiry about his reasoning, the officer's frustration spiraled up. She stood her ground while providing commentary on the situation. When she refused to put out her cigarette, he reacted as though she had challenged him to a duel.
He quickly put her in a no win dilemma. If she remained inside her auto she would be tasered. If she got out of her car, she was vulnerable to his violence.
Why did this Texas policeman feel so frightened by this lone black woman driving in her car?
The circumstances of Sandra Bland's death remain a mystery. Her arrest was travesty enough, but whatever transpired during her incarceration must have been unthinkable.