Despite claims by family members and friends that Sandra Bland would never kill herself, documents from the jail — where Bland was found dead of an apparent suicide — are telling a different story.
Bland admits on the intake document that over the past year she attempted to take her own life, with pills, after losing a baby. However, she also indicated that at the time of her arrest, on July 10th, she did not feel suicidal.
A member of the jail staff who completed the assessment wrote “no” to the question of whether mental illness was suspected.
The documents from the Waller County Jail were discussed at a closed meeting with law enforcement and dozens of elected officials, shortly before the video of her arrest, by a Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) trooper, was made public.
One local lawmaker told the Houston Chronicle, that Bland’s disclosure about her suicide attempt to jail authorities should have led to increased supervision by the staff.
Guidelines from the jail commission requires authorities to notify a magistrate if jailers suspect mental illness or if an inmate says when being screened, they have tried to commit suicide in the past.
The Jail Commission director, said jailers often rescreen inmates after the initial shock of their arrest has warn off, according to chron.com.
The District Attorney had stated earlier in the week that this case was being treated as a murder investigation and that a grand jury would be impaneled. There’s now controversy surrounding the police dash cam video showing Bland being combative and uncooperative right before her arrest. She was charged with assault for kicking the officer.
Hours after officials released that video, questions arose about whether it had been edited.
But DPS spokesman Tom Vinger told the Chronicle, “The video has not been edited. To eliminate any concerns as to the efficacy of the video, DPS previously requested the FBI examine the dash cam and jail video to ensure the integrity of the video.”
Prior to the release of the dash cam video, footage from the jailhouse was made public, and showed no activity outside of Bland’s cell before she was found dead. Officials from the jail stated that she used a plastic garbage bag, from inside her cell, to hang herself.