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Grand jury hears evidence in wrongful death suit filed by Sandra Bland’s family

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A Texas grand jury convened on Friday to decide whether anyone should be criminally charged over the death of a woman who died by hanging in an apparent suicide three days after being jailed for a traffic stop this summer.

The proceedings were held behind closed doors in Waller County, about 50 miles northwest of Houston, court officials said.

In August, the family of Sandra Bland filed a wrongful death suit against a Texas trooper, a sheriff’s office and her jailers, accusing them of being responsible for her hanging.

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Bland, a 28-year-old African-American, was pulled over in her car on July 10 by state trooper Brian Encinia for failing to signal a lane change in Prairie View, about 50 miles northwest of Houston.

The stop escalated into a verbal altercation after Encinia asked Bland to put out a cigarette and she refused. Bland was arrested and charged with assaulting an officer, a felony.

The discovery of Bland’s body in her cell three days later with a trash bag around her neck raised suspicions of racist treatment.

Local officials have said she was not mistreated in jail.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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