Representative Sheila Jackson Lee

Representing the 18th District of TEXAS


Dec 22, 2015
Press Release

HOUSTON, TEXAS – Today, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations, released the following statement after a Texas grand jury returned no indictments in the jailhouse death of Sandra Bland:

“I was deeply saddened by the death of Sandra Bland, a 28 year old woman who died in Waller County Jail in Hempstead, Texas. The facts and circumstances of Ms. Bland’s death shocked the nation, warranting independent investigations by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Department of Justice. Too many questions remain surrounding the death of this young, vital and dynamic woman, who was stopped for allegedly failing to signal a lane change, arrested for allegedly being uncooperative, and is then found hanging in her jail cell three days later. 

“It is disappointing that the local officials have not produced answers that Ms. Bland’ family and the rest of this country expect and deserve. The Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation must take a closer look. At a minimum, the practices and policies that have led to the deaths of multiple persons in custody at Waller County Jail call for immediate and thorough corrective action.

“Additionally, we cannot forget the deep racial divides that exist in Hempstead, Texas and the continued concern over racially discriminatory practices that may exist in the Waller County Sherriff’s Office. In particular, I am urging the Department of Justice to conduct a thorough and vigilant investigation into the operations of the Waller County Sherriff’s Office. Racism has no place in law enforcement and should not be tolerated at any level or under any circumstances.

“We have an obligation to the American people to maintain transparency in our federal system and to respond appropriately when citizens raise questions. I remain hopeful that justice will prevail in exposing and uprooting any and all bad actors, policies, practices, or cases that have resulted in unlawful and unjust loss of liberty and life. I continue to express my condolences to the family and will continue to keep them in my thoughts during this very difficult time.”