On Monday, Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis announced that a committee of outside lawyers will review Sandra Bland’s unsettling death while in police custody.

The committee, which will be led by Texas-based former prosecutors and defense attorneys Lewis White and Darrell Jordan, will be able to make recommendations on potential criminal charges to Mathis and present these charges to a grand jury—even if Mathis disagrees.

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“There are many lingering questions regarding the death of Sandra Bland, and I’ve asked Mr. White and Mr. Jordan to assist me in asking those hard questions and making sure they are answered in a timely and appropriate manner as the evidence takes shape and is presented to my office,” Mathis said.

The Associated Press reports:

Two other lawyers are expected to be appointed soon. Both White and Jordan are black, and will be dealing with a case that has received international scrutiny and questions about whether Bland was treated differently due to her race.

Mathis released an initial toxicology report Monday with findings that Bland had marijuana in her system at the time of her death. He declined to comment on the report, saying a final report was still being prepared.

The Texas Rangers and the FBI are both reviewing the case. Jordan said he hoped to “provide another set of eyes” to the case and credited Mathis for opening up the investigation to extra scrutiny.

Sandra Bland was pulled over and forcefully arrested after failing to signal a lane change. Days later, she was discovered dead in her cell. A Texas prosecutor has deemed the death suicide by hanging.

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“I don’t know if we’ll ever get an answer to all the questions,” White said of the committee’s charge. “But our job is to get answers. There are going to be answers some people don’t like.”


Contact the author at joanna@jezebel.com.

Image via AP.

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