It is unbelievable that racism is still headlining this nation and its people. Grey’s Anatomy star Jesse Williams laid it all out via Twitter once again, attacking current police tactics after the questionable death of a woman in a jail cell. Though her reason for arrest may raise speculation, whether or not this was a racially bias arrest, the specifics of this common stop, and impending death of the Texas woman, is definitely sparking controversy.
The woman was 28-year-old Sandra Bland, who was pulled over on a routine traffic stop. She was eventually arrested for assault on a public servant. How did this routine traffic stop turn violent and why did Bland go from zero to 60? Initially, she was issued a written warning regarding her unsafe lane change due to failure to signal. On the video footage of Bland’s arrest, the officer then proceeds to ask her to put out the cigarette she was smoking, when she questioned why she could not continue smoking, the officer requested that she get out of the vehicle.
Since Bland was not being detained or arrested, she declined to exit the vehicle. The officer then opened her door and tried to forcibly remove her without additional warning, then finally claiming she was under arrest. She eventually complied and got out of her car when the police officer pulled out his stun gun and threatened her. This was one of many reasons Williams challenged the ethics and tactics used in this police stop.
Williams’ opinions on Twitter, a series of a whopping 24 blasts on his account, pointedly accuse racism. Another result of this racial dissension is the protests accusing Waller County Police of racial violence. The video went on capturing Bland’s many requests to know why she was being arrested. She can also be heard expressing severe pain when the handcuffs were placed on her wrists.
Bland took her life by hanging in her Texan jail cell three days later, and the state released a statement that there were no timely checks on the inmate. The district attorney noted that Bland did not have any marks or defensive wounds on her body that indicated any kind of struggle or attack. Due to inconsistencies in intake paperwork, along with Bland having over 30 cut marks on her left arm, raising the question of Bland’s stability, the case is still open for a full investigation.
Williams is a well educated 33-year-old man, best known for his acting, modeling and, of course, his Twitter feed. With a degree in African-American studies, many people have voiced that he is creating issues and making it about race. He has voiced his heated opinions multiple times on topics of racism and police brutality through social media outlets. On October 28, 2014, Williams was speaking out about the Mike Brown shooting, popular yet inappropriate racial Halloween costumes and of course, Trayvon Martin. His assertive way of sharing his opinion so passionately has pegged him as a modern-day Racial Robin Hood. Attacking the authority and standing up for those treated unfairly because of their race. He stands up for those who feel that racial mistrust in authoritative settings.
He is using direct remarks like, “For membership consideration, this club has ONE requirement: the citizen(s) resisting police/the law/ status quo must be white,” to challenge the protocol and tactics used. Williams also went on to give numerous examples of white lawbreakers with heavier crimes and less brutal treatment.
Many have joined forces with Williams and taken to social media and protests in the street. There is no current conclusion until the thorough investigation is complete. Williams heavily implies he plans to challenge these police racially abusive tactics until the racism is gone.
By Crystle Zamagni
Edited by Maurice Cassidy
EW.com: “Jesse Williams addresses Sandra Bland death over the course of 24 tweets”
Vox: “Read: Jesse Williams’s scathing Twitter essay on police brutality and race in America”
Essence: “Jesse Williams Tweets Frustration with Mike Brown Shooting, Trayvon Martin Costumes”
Photo Courtesy of Markus Stober Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Youtube: “Sandra Bland’s Arrest”