28-year-old Sandra Bland was found dead in her jail cell in Waller County, Texas on Monday, and while the police are calling it a suicide, her friends, family, and pretty much everyone else who hears about this aren’t convinced that’s what happened.
Bland was arrested last Friday after being pulled over for failing to signal a lane change. The police said she became violent, and they arrested her for assaulting a public servant. She was then found dead in her cell on Monday morning. An autopsy was performed and her death was ruled a suicide by hanging.
Bland’s friends and family feel that the police’s story doesn’t add up. For one thing, the odd quickness with which everything seemed to escalate seems off. In a matter of 72 hours Bland went from being pulled over for a minor traffic violation, to being arrested for assaulting a cop, and then killing herself, according to the police’s story. There’s also the fact that Bland is black, and Waller county supposedly has a history of discriminatory law enforcement behavior.
Below is a video that is allegedly of Bland being arrested. She is clearly protesting throughout, and at the ends she screams about how she was thrown to the ground simply for a traffic violation. This would imply that there was never any confrontation with the police, as they claim. One cop tries to tell the person shooting the video that they have to leave, but the person filming responds that they are on public property. The video ends with Bland being taken away and her thanking the person for recording the incident.
Bland was in Waller County because she was just about to start a new job doing student outreach at Texas Prairie View A&M, her alma mater. This also leads those who knew her to feel like Bland suddenly becoming suicidal when she was just about to embark on a new and welcome chapter of her life is highly questionable.
There’s also this confusing aspect to the story, from the Chicago Tribune:
Online county jail records show that Bland was arrested Friday and released Monday on $5,000 bond.
Bland was found Monday morning by a female jailer who had gone to Bland’s cell to see if she wanted some recreation time, Smith said.
I admit that I could simply be confused and reading this wrong, and if that’s the case someone please let me know, but it certainly seems like she was being held after records show that she was released. The Smith they are referring to is Waller County Sheriff Glenn Smith.
Although the death is being investigated, Waller County DA Elton Mathis does not believe there was any foul play, and stated, “I understand there’s some disbelief among some friends and family that she would do this to herself. That’s why it’s very important that the Texas Rangers be allowed to conduct a thorough investigation.”
A protest has been scheduled for Friday at 4 pm at the Waller County Sheriff’s office.
We’ll update this story as more information becomes available.