Broward News

Anonymous Holding "Sandra Bland Day of Rage Rally" in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday

A group that says it is affiliated with the hacktivist collective known as Anonymous has announced a national Day of Rage in support of Sandra Bland, the 28-year-old Chicago-area woman who died under mysterious circumstances while in police custody in Texas. The rally, which is also called #opSandraBland, is going to be held this Saturday, including in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

Bland was arrested on July 10 following a traffic violation in Waller County, Texas. Three days later, she was found dead in her cell. Officials say she used a plastic bag to hang herself in her jail cell. 

Bland's death has caused national outrage, with many pointing to her death as another case of an African-American dying at the hands of police brutality. The officer who arrested Bland, Brian Encinia, had received an evaluation that said he acted unprofessionally during a separate incident in 2014. During the traffic stop, Bland allegedly kicked Encinia, and the officer is seen on the Dashcam video holding a stun gun and telling Bland, "I'll light you up."

But Bland's death has been met with scrutiny by some. Anonymous has raised questions about a conspiracy to cover up the fact that Bland might have been murdered while in custody,

A seven-minute video released by the group points to Bland's mug shot as proof of a coverup. According to the group, it believes the photo was taken after Bland was already dead. 

"We, not as Anonymous but as citizens of the United States, are tired of the cycle of murders and coverups made by police departments across the nation," the group's webpage reads. "We demand that each police chief at each protesting city to come out to the crowds and renew their pledge to protect the people they serve."

The group is also calling for the arrest of Encinia, as well as the resignation of the Waller County district attorney and the Waller County sheriff.

“If you do not take Brian Encinia into custody, we will come after all of you,” the website says. “All your secrets will be leaked. You will all be vulnerable. We all know where you live.”

On Monday, a report surfaced saying Anonymous had hacked the Waller County Sheriff’s Department and leaked information, including salaries, addresses, and telephone numbers of the deputies they say were involved in the Bland murder cover-up. While news of the hack and leaks have not been reported elsewhere, a video claiming to be from Anonymous surfaced on YouTube claiming that Waller County Sheriff's Department had been hacked. The leaked info was reportedly uploaded on Pastebin but has since apparently been removed.

According to this flier making the rounds on social media, the Day of Rage will be happening in front of the federal courthouse in downtown Fort Lauderdale on Saturday at 11 a.m. 

"We, Anonymous, are calling on the citizens of the United States to commit to a day of rage on August 8th for Sandra Bland and all who have been murdered at the hands of ruthless law enforcement officials who know no honor," the group announced. "Cities around the United States will rise up in unison and call for Sandra Bland’s justice."

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Bland's family filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Encinia and other officials in the Waller County Sheriff's Department.

KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph