HEMPSTEAD, Texas – The Texas county where a black woman died in jail after a traffic stop by a white state trooper has a long history of racial strife.
Sandra Bland's death ignited long-simmering passions in Waller County, about 50 miles northwest of Houston. The county seat of Hempstead was once known as "Six Shooter Junction" because of white-supremacist violence in the 1800s.
District Attorney Elton Mathis acknowledges the county's past and says he understands how people from outside would jump to the conclusion that Bland was killed rather than killed herself.
But he says there is a new generation in control of local government — a more progressive generation.
Bland, a 28-year-old Illinois woman, was jailed July 10. She died three days later. The FBI is leading an investigation.