US

Case of Sandra Bland highlights lax Texas state police procedures for handling complaints

FILE  - In this undated file frame from video provided by the Waller County Sheriff's Department, Sandra Bland stands before a desk at Waller County Jail in Hempstead, Texas. A grand jury decided that neither sheriff's officials nor jailers committed a crime in the treatment of Bland, a black woman who died in a Texas county jail last summer, but has not yet determined whether the state trooper who arrested her should face charges, a prosecutor said. (Waller County Sheriff's Department via AP, File)

FILE - In this undated file frame from video provided by the Waller County Sheriff's Department, Sandra Bland stands before a desk at Waller County Jail in Hempstead, Texas. A grand jury decided that neither sheriff's officials nor jailers committed a crime in the treatment of Bland, a black woman who died in a Texas county jail last summer, but has not yet determined whether the state trooper who arrested her should face charges, a prosecutor said. (Waller County Sheriff's Department via AP, File)  (The Associated Press)

A Texas grand jury still could charge the trooper who shouted "I will light you up!" during a traffic stop resulting in the arrest of Sandra Bland, a move that would focus attention on what experts say is lax state police handling of complaints and misconduct.

Records provided to The Associated Press show at least six formal complaints found valid since January, 2012 against members of the nearly 4,000-strong state force for violating traffic stop procedures.

But authorities cannot put a number on informal accusations — such as rudeness or attitude — in which citizens don't sign affidavits that trigger formal investigations. Law enforcement watchdogs said that is a departure from most major U.S. police departments.

Bland's arrest and death in jail heightened concern about police treatment of African-Americans.