Friends are questioning the narrative related to the death of 28-year-old Sandra Bland, who Texas officials claim was found hanging in her jail cell Monday morning in an “apparent suicide.”
Bland had drove from Chicago last Thursday to interview for a new job at her alma mater, Prairie View A&M. On Friday, she was pulled over by a Texas state trooper outside the campus for allegedly “failing to signal while changing lanes.”
Police claim the woman became combative before being arrested for “assault on a public servant” and booked into the Waller County jail.
Sheriff R. Glenn Smith says Bland was last spoken to in her cell via intercom at 8 a.m. on Monday, before, at 9 a.m., she was found dead by a jailer.
“The preliminary investigation, the information I have received said this point, this was a suicide,” Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said.
An autopsy performed Tuesday by the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences in Houston classified Bland’s death as a “suicide, [caused by] hanging.”
Friends who talked to Bland while she was at the jail however, are skeptical, and say the woman had arranged for them to pick her up Monday on a $5,000 bond.
“The plan was to attempt to bail her out on Monday,” Malcolm Jackson said. “But, before [that time] could come, of course tragedy struck and nothing was able to be done.”
Adding to suspicion, Bland was an outspoken critic of police brutality associated with the “Black Lives Matter” movement and on video footage recorded from the scene – which did not capture a visual of the arrest – the woman can be heard complaining that the officer slammed her head against the ground.
“You just slammed my heard into the ground, do you not even care about that?” Bland can be heard saying before she begins crying and thanks the bystander for recording. “I cant even hear.”
Watch the raw footage:
Another friend, LaVaughn Mosley, who had allowed Bland stay at his home while she went for the job interview, said Tuesday, “She went [and] did the interview, got the job, and was looking forward to start[ing] work on the 15th.”
Why would a woman who had traveled across the country for a job opportunity that was planning on being bailed out of jail only hours after her death, commit suicide?
“It’s sad, here’s a young lady trying to move on with her life and a simple traffic stop turned into such a travesty,” Mosley said. “The fact that they say she committed suicide in totally absurd.”
Friends have described Bland as “outgoing” and say the young woman was looking for a fresh start in Texas.
Bland’s family members have not offered any comment about the situation but a spontaneous online campaign is already underway on social media questioning the official narrative using hashtags like #JusticeForSandy and #WhatHappenedToSandyBland.
The Texas Rangers are now investigating the incident.
Local news coverage: