New video has been released from the Texas jail where a 28-year old Chicago area woman died several days after she was arrested during a routine traffic stop.
According to ABC Chicago, on the morning Sandra Bland was found dead, of an apparent suicide, she used the jail Intercom to ask the staff how to make a phone call. But no call was ever made. An hour later, Bland was seen hanging in the toilet area behind a privacy partition, in a “semi-standing” position.
The Waller County jail surveillance video however shows no one going into her cell the morning she was found dead, before she was found dead. The video shows jail personnel scrambling, after the tragic discovery was made by a prison deputy, who was seen looking in at Bland the morning of July 13th. He’s then seen hurrying out of the frame to alert the jail staff, who then performed CPR. It was too late.
Bland was found with a plastic trash bag wrapped over her head, says Sheriff’s Office Capt. Brian Cantrell. The jailhouse video that was just released shows a trash can with similar plastic bag lining in the 15 by 20 foot cell.
Officials from the jail later released a statement saying this was a tragic incident, but not one of criminal intent.
Her death while in jail sparked a new trend on social media, with many posting on Twitter about this case under the hashtag, “If I die in police custody.” This of course came before the jailhouse video was released, essentially proving that she did commit suicide.
All of this comes from a traffic stop that led to her arrest three days prior to her death. According to various media reports, the arresting officer was only going to give Bland a warning at first, but she became combative at some point refusing to put out her cigarette while still sitting in the car. She was ordered to get out of her vehicle and allegedly kicked the officer, which she was then arrested for.
The police dash cam video of the incident is expected to be made public later today.
Bland was a “Black Lives Matter” activist and previously discussed her battle with depression and PTSD in a video she posted to YouTube in March. She was moving back to Texas to take a job at her alma mater.
“This is being treated like a murder investigation,” Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis told reporters on Monday. The state’s autopsy ruled Bland’s death a suicide, but her family refuses to believe she took her own life. They have ordered an independent autopsy.
The officer involved has been assigned to administrative duties during the investigation.