The sad, tragic Sandra Bland situation represents a teachable moment in an age where we hate legitimate authority.
It may well be that the police officer who arrested Bland was on a power trip. It may be argued that he was a jerk. However, he issued a lawful order when he told Bland to get out of her vehicle and she should have complied. Police have this authority for a reason, and there is no legitimate reason not to exit the vehicle. If a police officer tells you to get out of your car, just get out of your car. This is not rocket science.
Obviously, a police officer’s authority is not unlimited. But there is no reason to be confrontational, even if the cop is acting like a jerk. Simply comply with lawful orders, be polite and courteous, and be on your way without incident. If Bland felt the officer was acting in an egregious or unprofessional manner, she can always file a complaint later – and take her complaints public if she is not satisfied with how her complaint was handled. I filed a complaint against a Monroe County Sheriff’s deputy a few years ago when I thought he was behaving in an unprofessional way.
This does not excuse the behavior of the officer, who could have and should have de-escalated the situation. From what I have seen, this is far from an example of stellar police work. This does not excuse the jail staff not checking on her to make sure she had not harmed herself. But had Bland simply cooperated with the officer’s order and submitted to his lawful authority, a horrible end could have been avoided and a family would not have lost their daughter.