Police, Relatives at Odds Over Sandra Bland’s Jail ‘Suicide’

Posted on July 17, 2015

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by Bradley Matthews, editing by Adam MS

New update (7/28) ===

Video of Sandra Bland at Texas jail is released

(CNN) Authorities in Waller County, Texas, released hours of jail video on Tuesday in an effort to knock down the idea that Sandra Bland was dead before she was brought to jail.

Bland, 28, was found dead in her cell three days after she was arrested for allegedly failing to use her turn signal on July 10. Officials have said she hanged herself with a plastic bag, but her family and others have questioned that account.

“The reason we’re doing this is because of the misinformation that has been put out — both through social media and even through mainstream media — that has led to the rumors that Sandra Bland was in some way deceased, or harmed, or not well when she was brought in to the Waller County Jail,” Waller County Judge Trey Duhon told reporters.

sbHe said that Waller County officials have received death threats. They have also received threats against their facilitates.

“We are under cyberattack by individuals like the group called Anonymous, who has claimed that Sandra Bland is deceased in the mugshot. You will see video here today that will show that she was alive and well when her mugshot was taken,” said Duhon.

The video, which does not have sound, shows Bland being brought into the jail. Her handcuffs are removed during an initial intake, at which she appears to be coherent and cooperative.

At one point, Bland holds her head in her hands. At another point, she steps into a bathroom to change her clothes. Bland has her mugshot taken, and she can be seen making a phone call.

Duhon told reporters the video had not been altered or changed in any way. He acknowledged some people will still have doubts.

Authorities have released other footage in Bland’s case, including more jail video and dashcam video of her arrest.

The first video of the arrest contained problems, which raised a number of questions. In parts of the footage, the video was looped while the officer’s audio continued uninterrupted.

There were moments when a car or wrecker driver appeared in the frame, suddenly disappeared, and then appeared again.

A Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman chalked the inconsistencies up to a technical issue, and a new version of the video, which did not have the same problems, was later released.

“If this helps a few people understand, and dispel some of the rumors going around, then it’s worth our time to do this here today,” Duhon said.

Waller County is northwest of Houston.

below is the original article ===

Newly-emerged cell phone video shows the arrest of Sandra Bland, who died in custody Monday in Texas — as the woman’s family and authorities disagree about the manner of her death.

Authorities said that Bland, 28, committed suicide, but her family isn’t buying it.

A prosecutor said Thursday that he will present the findings of a Texas Rangers’ investigation to a grand jury. The FBI is also investigating the circumstances surrounding Bland’s death.

Bland, who lived in the Chicago suburb of Naperville, graduated from Prairie View A&M University and was planning to move back to Texas.

She was arrested on July 10 in Prairie View following a routine traffic stop, with authorities alleging that she was “argumentative and uncooperative.”

In cell phone video of the arrest — which was posted to YouTube — Bland can be heard questioning officers’ tactics, accusing them of slamming her to the ground.

Bland was found dead in her cell three days later.

Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said an autopsy found Bland died by asphyxiation and that she used a plastic bag to hang herself from a partition in her cell. He added that although jail video didn’t show what went on in Bland’s cell, it showed no one went in or out of it from the time she was placed there until a jailer found her unconscious.

Bland previously discussed her struggle with depression in a video posted to Facebook in March.

“I want you guys to know it’s a daily struggle. It’s a daily test,” she said. “Depression is nothing but the devil. It’s a way of mind and it’s a way of thinking.”

However, her relatives say she was days away from starting a new job and would never take her own life.

“Based on the Sandy I knew, that’s unfathomable to me,” said Sharon Cooper, Bland’s sister.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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