Sandra Bland Drove to Texas to Start a New Job, so How Did She End Up Dead in Jail?


On July 9, 28-year-old Sandra Bland of Naperville, Ill., drove to Texas to start a new job at her alma mater, Prairie View A&M. On July 10, police stopped Bland just outside the campus for allegedly failing to signal while changing lanes. Police claim that during the stop she became combative, was thrown to the ground, arrested and charged with "assault on a public servant." 


On July 13, around 9 a.m., before her family could bail her out, Bland was found dead inside a Waller County, Texas, jail cell. Police claim she died from "self-inflicted asphyxiation." Her family and friends say that is impossible; that the woman they know, who fought strongly against police brutality and had just gotten a new job, would never have committed suicide.  

"I do suspect foul play," a friend, Cheryl Nanton, told ABC 7. "I believe that we are all 100 percent in belief that she did not do harm to herself."


Video obtained by ABC 7 of Bland's arrest doesn't appear to show Bland being combative with officers, but does show two officers on top of Bland, who can be heard questioning the officers' methods of restraint.

"You just slammed my head into the ground," Bland can be heard saying on the recording. "Do you not even care about that? I can't even hear." As she is being escorted to the police car in handcuffs, Bland can be heard yelling, "Slammed me to the ground and everything!"

Shortly afterward, an officer can be heard telling the person recording the incident that he or she needed to leave.

Malcom Jackson, a friend of Bland's who witnessed the encounter, told the news station that the police were forceful during the entirety of the traffic stop.


"After he pulled her out of the car, forced her and tossed her to the ground, knee to the neck, and arrested her," he said.

Waller County Sheriff Glenn Smith told ABC 7 that during the traffic stop, Bland became combative with the officer and was arrested and charged with assault.


The news station reports that Smith said "jailers saw Bland at 7 a.m. Monday when they gave her breakfast and again at 8 a.m. when they spoke with her over the jail intercom. Smith says she was found dead an hour later."

In a press release from the sheriff's department viewed by ABC 7, authorities claim that CPR was performed shortly after Bland was found unresponsive in her cell and that she was pronounced dead moments later.


"I do not have any information that would make me think it was anything other than just a suicide," Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis told ABC 7.

Bland's friends told the news station that the woman they know was excited about starting her new job on Wednesday, July 15, and that she would never have taken her own life.


"The Waller County Jail is trying to rule her death a suicide, and Sandy would not have taken her own life," LaNitra Dean told ABC 7. "Sandy was strong. Strong mentally and spiritually."

On Wednesday, several of Bland's friends protested outside the Waller County Jail, which is 50 miles south of Houston. Family members told ABC 7 that Bland's body will be brought back to Illinois for burial as soon as authorities release it.


According to ABC 7, Texas state rangers are investigating Bland's death and have not commented on the video obtained by the news station.

Until the investigation is complete, Bland's friends and family will continue to speak out about the tragic loss they believe is highly suspicious.


"We're very suspicious and we're a very tight community and we're very upset that this has happened, and it seems like there's nothing really being done about it," Bland's friend LaVaughn Mosley told the news station.

Read more at ABC 7.

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