Sandra Bland death needs answers

The General Board of Church & Society of The United Methodist Church grieves the death while in police custody of Sandra Bland of Waller County, Texas, a recent employee of Prairie View A&M University. Ms. Bland’s family and the African Methodist Episcopal Church, of which she was a member, are questioning the cause of her death that is listed right now as suicide while in her jail cell.

We stand with her family and our sisters and brothers in the AME Church and call for the answers to these questions to be made public.

Bland was arrested July 10 near the university for allegedly being combative with a Texas state trooper. Several days later, July 13, she was found hanged in her Waller County jail cell.

Ms. Bland had proven herself as being dedicated to strengthening her community through protecting the rights of all people. We believe black lives matter. Therefore, as United Methodists, we state in our Social Principles, “In the love of Christ, who came to save those who are lost and vulnerable, we urge the creation of a genuinely new system for the care and restoration of victims, offenders, criminal justice officials, and the community as a whole.”

We pray for comfort and healing for her family, and we believe the surest way to bring healing is for their questions to be answered.

—The Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe
General Secretary
Bill Mefford
Director of Civil & Human Rights
General Board of Church & Society
The United Methodist Church

July 20, 2015


The General Board of Church & Society is one of four international general program boards of The United Methodist Church. Prime responsibility of the board is to seek implementation of the Social Principles and other policy statements on Christian social concerns of the General Conference, the denomination’s highest policy-making body. The board’s primary areas of ministry are Advocacy, Education & Leadership Formation, United Nations & International Affairs, and resourcing these areas for the denomination. It has offices on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and at the Church Center for the United Nations in New York City.

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