Sandra Bland, a young black woman who was stopped by police in Waller County, Texas, has died in her jail cell.
Police at the Waller County Jail in Hempstead, Texas, report that her death was suicide by hanging, but her family say they aren’t buying that story — and now they, and the rest of the nation, want answers.
— refinery29 (@Refinery29) July 19, 2015
Sandra Bland, 28, was arrested for “assault on a public servant” after she became “combative” during the traffic stop, Sheriff Glenn Smith reported to KHOU-TV in Houston and USA Today.
Bland was in the Waller County jail for just three days before she was found hanging from a noose made out of a plastic trash bag in her cell, according to the Christian Science Monitor.
The sheriff’s office reports that when Bland was found, she was “not breathing” due to “what appears to be self-inflicted asphyxiation.” Police in the jail called for paramedics and began CPR, but to no avail; Sandra Bland was pronounced deceased shortly thereafter.
A statement made by the Waller County Sheriff’s Office said, “Any loss of life is a tragic incident and, 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.”
The Waller County Sheriff’s Office just released this statement regarding the jail commission’s findings: pic.twitter.com/t8vLoi9Jiu
— St. John B. Smith (@stjbs) July 17, 2015
Bland’s family, however, say that they do not believe that Sandra was suicidal, nor would she have acted out in the ways authorities described.
Shante Needham, Sandra Bland’s sister, told CNN that she had received a phone call from Sandra on Saturday while she was being held at the jail.
According to Sandra Bland’s sister, though Bland had been plagued with depression before, she does not believe Sandra would take her own life, even in the midst of the turmoil she was facing.
“To know Sandy was to love her. She was someone who was extremely spontaneous, spunky, outgoing, truly filled with life and joy. So when you think through the circumstances shared with us through this point, this is unimaginable,” Bland’s sister said.
According to Needham, and from what can be seen in an unverified cell phone video taken of the incident on the side of the road, troopers were needlessly aggressive. Bland also told her sister that she thought the officer who was allegedly holding her down with his knee had broken her arm.
Trooper involved in arrest of Texas woman later found dead in her cell has been reassigned: http://t.co/RGFVEY4kBE
— ABC News (@ABC) July 18, 2015
[Photo via lovelyti2013/YouTube]