(WTNH) The family of an Illinois woman who died in custody in a Texas jail say they’re waiting for the release, possibly later Tuesday, of police dash cam video from her arrest. 28-year-old Sandra Bland was found dead in her Waller County, TX jail cell three days after police say she became argumentative and uncooperative during a traffic stop. Her body was found hanging in her cell with a garbage bag tied around her neck. A coroner ruled it a suicide by self-inflicted asphyxiation.
Bland’s family, as well as supporters and protestors, object to the findings, saying she was moving to Texas to start a new job and, that the notion that she would have killed herself is “unfathomable.” Bland was pulled over July 10th for allegedly failing to signal a lane change. Video taken by a bystander after she got out of the car shows her lying on the ground with several officers standing nearby, as she shouted she’d been hit so hard she couldn’t hear. One civil rights group says the police dash cam video will show what led to the confrontation. A Dallas television station is reporting that video will be released sometime Tuesday.
The video from the jail in the hours before Bland’s death shows an officer checking on her at 7AM on July 13th. Less than two hours later, an officer is seen on the video looking in Bland’s cell, and then calling for help. Jailers performed CPR, but Bland was pronounced dead.
Waller County D.A. Elton Mathis said in a press conference Monday night that the case is being treated as if it were a murder investigation, and that detectives will be looking for DNA and fingerprints on the plastic bag used in her death. The Texas Rangers and the FBI are also helping in the investigation.
In the meantime, the story of Bland’s death is trending on Twitter with the hashtag #IfIDieInPoliceCustody.