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
Director of Civil & Human Rights
General Board of Church & Society
The United Methodist Church
July 20, 2015