In Texas, a Walter County District attorney named Elton Mathis told press that Sandra Bland “may have been suffering from a mental illness” when she reportedly hung herself in a Texas jail cell earlier this week. Bland was pulled over for a routine traffic stop that garnered her three days in jail and $5,000 bail.
Bland, a vocal member of the #Blacklivesmatter movement, posted videos online called #Sandraspeaks about race as well as one discussing her fight with depression five months ago, according to ABC 7 Chicago.
“I’m suffering from something that some of you all may be dealing with right now. It’s a little bit of depression as well as PTSD,” Bland, 28, of Naperville, stated on camera.
Texas authorities ruled Bland’s death a suicide, saying she hung herself with a plastic bag from the trash can in her cell, when she was found dead on Monday morning at 9 a.m. after spending the weekend behind bars.
“That’s when the jailer found her, opened the door, and started CPR,” Waller County Sheriff R Glenn Smith said.
Justice of the Peace Charles Karisch was called to the jail cell.
“I pronounced her dead. I did see a mark somewhere around the neck,” Karisch said. “I think I saw a plastic bag hanging from something.”
Karisch said he believes that plastic bag was used to commit suicide. “That’s what I believe, absolutely,” he said.
The assertion that Bland killed herself due to mental health issues is suspicious to Bland’s family, who say she would have never committed suicide. Bland had just relocated to Texas to begin a new job at Prairie View A&M University, her alma mater, and was very excited. To boot, her sister Shante Needham told press that she was pulling together bail money for Sandy, as her friends and family called her, after Sandy had reportedly been injured during her rough arrest by Waller County police.
“She informed me she had been arrested. She said they couldn’t tell her what she had been arrested for until an hour before she had called. She then proceeded to say the officer had put his knees in her back and that she thought her shoulder was broken,” said Needham. “She said her bond was $515. And I told her that I would work on getting her out.”
Texas Rangers are now leading the investigation into Bland’s death. However Sandy’s family, and many others online, don’t believe she took her own life, especially when her story dovetails with Kindra Chapman, another of a black woman who reportedly committed suicide behind bars after she was arrested for theft of a cell phone in Alabama. Here we go again.
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Screenshot via Sandra Bland/Facebook.