July 16, 2015
Woman Dies In Cell: Who's To Blame?

A woman was found dead in her jail cell after being arrested at a routine traffic stop.

The Texas Rangers and the FBI have taken over the investigation of what happened to Sandy Bland, 28, in her cell after police officers brought her in for an assault she allegedly committed during a routine traffic stop.

According to ABC7, Waller County Sheriff Glenn Smith issued a statement.

"I do not have any information that would make me think it was anything other than just a suicide... any loss of life is a tragic incident. While the investigation is being conducted by outside agencies, the Waller County Sheriff's Office will continue to observe the daily operations of the jail to always look for improvements and/or preventions of these incidents."

Video surfaced on YouTube of the woman before she was brought to her cell. Warning: The video is disturbing.

The video starts with the woman lying on the ground with two officers over her. One seemingly in the process of handcuffing her, while the other has a foot on her neck. The woman is cursing clearly at the officers and she sounds like she is near tears.

"You slammed my head into the ground, do you not even care about that," the woman tearfully asked. "I can't even hear."

Although the officers involved are claiming the woman assaulted them, the video does not confirm or deny that.

The arrest took place on Friday. Sandy Bland was found dead in her cell on Monday morning around 9 a.m. Smith told reporters that she died of self-inflicted asphyxiation, but the woman's family believes something is off about that statement.

Sandy Bland had just moved to Texas after spending the July 4 weekend with her family in Illinois. The woman was driving through the area because she had just finished up an interview and gotten a job at Prairie View A&M, the university she attended.

A friend of Bland's, Sharon Cooper, said she couldn't wrap her mind around the woman's death.

"Based on the Sandy that I knew, that's unfathomable to me. That's the word that keeps ringing true for me. That's very challenging to believe."

After the suicide ruling, members of Twitter were calling for someone, anyone, to weigh in on the truth of the death report. Hashtags #JusticeForSandy and #WhatHappenedToSandyBland were trending.

It's been proven that Smith has been penalized for racist comments in other police departments, even fired.

"I will admit it's strange that someone who has apparently seemed to have everything going her way would have taken her own life," Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis told KPRC-TV.

[Image courtesy of Facebook]