Lost in the morass of last week’s discussion about the Iran deal, Donald Trump, Planned Parenthood, and the Chattanooga terrorist attack is the truly awful case of Sandra Bland in Texas. Bland died inside the Waller County Jail three days after she was arrested by a Texas state trooper. The situation was originally called a suicide, but is now being investigated as a murder. It’s a pretty horrible because Bland appears to be a true success story: a woman who took care of kids, went to church, and was about to start working for Prairie View A&M in their community outreach deparment. She may have been a leftist, but she was still trying to have a life. It all went awry when she was pulled over by a Texas state trooper. There are plenty of other writers getting into the racial aspect of Bland’s arrest. She is a black woman and Waller County has a documented history of racism. The sheriff was suspended, then fired from his former job for racism. People in the freedom and liberty movement near Waller County openly admit there are problems.
@TaylorMVLR for years
— Something Glitchie (@somethingfishie) July 20, 2015
The trooper involved in the case is on administrative duty for not following department policy.
In the preliminary review of the traffic stop that occurred in Prairie View on July 10, 2015, involving Sandra Bland, we have identified violations of the department’s procedures regarding traffic stops and the department’s courtesy policy.
The District Attorney also placed blame on Bland for “being combative,” but no one will really know until the dashcam video is released, potentially on Tuesday. The problem is no one is focusing on why Bland was pulled over: she didn’t use her turn signal to change lanes. It is illegal in Texas, and pretty much every other state, for people to turn or change lanes without signaling. This is an important thing to consider when looking at Bland’s arrest. It’s absolutely ridiculous there are laws on the books requiring the use of turn signals. This falls under the legislation of common sense. Yes, people should use their turn signals when changing lanes. Yes, it makes sense for people to avoid texting while behind the wheel or to make sure they have a bluetooth or hands-free device. But the government has no business regulating this type of behavior. All it does is make politicians feel good about knowing they can run on the, “oh we’re trying to keep people safe” ticket. Texas Representative Tom Craddick said it best when he filed a texting while driving ban.
The main thing we need to say is, it is a safety issue in this state — driving is not a privilege. It’s our responsibility as legislators to put forth the tools that the [Department of Public Safety] and other police officers in this state need to make it safe on our highways and streets.
It’s not just politicians who like so-called common sense laws. Law enforcement officials are also fans. Michigan State Police Sergeant Mike Church told The Grand Rapids Press the turn signal laws “help” catch drunk drivers and are on the federal list of “vigilance problems.”
I arrested many drunk drivers after they failed to signal a turn.
The problem is Church later says he’s only issued one citation in 15 years for not using a turn signal. Everyone else got a warning. So do turn signal laws actually work or are they another example of overcriminalization in the U.S? The Sandra Bland case has plenty of similarities with Eric Garner’s death in New York. Police tried to arrest, then killed him, after he was caught selling single cigarettes on the street. It’s also similar to another case in Texas where a woman was cited for feeding the homeless. Joan Cheever was fined $2000 by San Antonio police for giving out food to the homeless from her car without a permit. A permit!
Sec. 13-21. – Required for food establishments in the city.
It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a food establishment or rendering business in the city who does not possess a valid unsuspended or unrevoked permit from the department. No person/owner/operator shall, within the city, manufacture, sell, or offer or expose for sale, or have in possession with intent to sell, any food product without the proper permits. A person operating a temporary food establishment shall also be required to secure a permit before they shall be allowed to operate.
This is absolutely ridiculous. San Antonio may have dropped charges against Cheever, but she’s still considering a suit on grounds the ordinance violates the First Amendment and Texas’ Freedom of Religion Restoration Act. It will be interesting if San Antonio drops the ordinance and whether other cities which have homeless food bans will be forced to change their ways (looking at you New York). It’s truly mind boggling but this is what happens when government gets too much power. It may seem odd to connect Sandra Bland and Eric Garner with Joan Cheever but they all fall into the same category: overcriminalization. Bland, Garner, and Cheever weren’t hurting anyone. The government got involved because of “public safety,” even though there was no evidence anyone’s life, liberty, or property were in danger. It’s unfortunate two people are dead because of government overreach.
Taylor Millard’s opinions are his own and do not reflect the opinion of anyone else, any company he may or may not work for (so MYOFBYK), or anyone at HotAir. He can be found on Twitter @TaylorMVLR.