Social-justice agency grieves over death of another young black in police custody

GBCS Pos 1.001WASHINGTON, D.C. — The General Board of Church & Society of The United Methodist Church grieves the death while in police custody of Ms. 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.

Ms. Bland was arrested last week near the university for allegedly being uncooperative with a Texas state trooper. Several days later 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 (¶164H), “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 Ms. Bland’s family, and we believe the surest way to accomplish that is for their questions to be answered.

—The Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe
General Secretary
General Board of Church & Society
The United Methodist Church

—Bill Mefford
Director of Civil & Human Rights
General Board of Church & Society
The United Methodist Church

July 20, 2015


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