Sandra Bland was found dead Monday while in the custody of a Waller County, Texas, jail.
Police have called her death a suicide, claiming that she died from “self-inflicted asphyxiation.” Her family and friends insist that the 28-year-old, an outspoken voice against police brutality who was on her way to begin a new job in Texas, would never take her own life. A friend, Cheryl Nanton, blatantly said she suspected foul play.
As questions and suspicions begin to grow about what exactly happened to Sandra Bland, here’s what we can tell you for certain about the bright young woman who was supposed to be driving toward a new beginning but ended up dead:
1. She was stopped for failing to signal while changing lanes.
Bland was reportedly pulled over during a routine traffic stop for not signaling a lane change. Police claim that during the stop she became combative and was then arrested and charged with “assault on a public servant.”
However, video released of the incident doesn’t seem to show a combative Bland. Instead, officers can be seen restraining Bland who argued with them about the methods used to detain her. “You just slammed my head into the ground,” Bland is heard saying on the video.
2. Bland was in Texas for a new job at her alma mater, Prairie View A&M University.
Bland attended Prairie View A&M on a band scholarship and graduated in 2008 before going back home to Illinois. She was a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, which issued a statement Thursday (pdf) in response to her death. Early in July, she drove to Texas for a job interview at the university. She got the job and was to begin working in student outreach. Her death was two days before her start date.