The Sandra Bland Rule

sandrablandby Attorney Jerry Girley
Recently, I travelled the deep south on a civil rights tour. I had the privilege of visiting every major civl rights museum in the south such as: the Rosa Parks Museum in Montgomery, Alabama, National Park Center's information center at the Edmund Pettus Bridge, the Civil Rights Institute at Birmingham, Alabama, Little Rock Central High School and the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn.

All of these places were inspiring and informative. However, the place that had the greatest and most

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lasting impact was the Lorraine Motel, the place where Dr. King was assassinated. It was impactful for many different reasons. One of these reasons is that there was a carefully selected display of state codes and laws that comprehensively chronicled the struggle of African Americans to obtain legal equality.

Among this listing of laws, I was particularly struck by the 1740 South Carolina Law which regulated white people's interactions with slaves. It read:
" If any slave...shall refuse to submit or undergo the examination of any white person, it shall be lawful for any such white person to pursue, apprehend, and moderately correct such slave."


Related: The Dred Scott Rule:Why White Men Get Away With Killing Black Men 


As I read this law I commented that if you exchange the word slave for black person, it helps to explain many police and "want to be" police encounters with African Americans, particularly African American men. I renamed this code the George Zimmerman rule. But, upon further reflection I think it can just as easily be called the Sandra Bland rule or the Samuel Dubose rule.

The rule re-written would read:
" If any African American shall refuse to submit to or undergo the examination of a police officer or any white person, it shall be lawful for that person to pursue, apprehend and use deadly force against such African American if deemed appropriate"

The point here is that what is being played out on the news seemingly every other day is a horror that was set in motion back in 1740. The more things change, the more they have remained the same, with respect to the most critical areas of African American life.

Founded in 2007, The Girley Law Firm, P.A. focuses it efforts in three main areas of the law: Civil Rights, Criminal Defense and Social Security.  Web site:
Location: 125 East Marks Street Orlando, Fl. 32803 Ph.(407) 540-9866 Fax:(407) 540-8767

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