HEMPSTEAD, Texas (AP) — The latest on the investigation into the recent death of a woman in a Texas jail cell (all times local):
Documents say Sandra Bland told officials when she was being booked into a Southeast Texas jail that she suffered from epilepsy.
A suicide questionnaire that was among booking documents released Wednesday by Waller County shows that Bland also told them she was taking the anti-epileptic drug Keppra.
The documents also contain discrepancies. In another document, one that was to be filled out by the inmate and that contains Bland’s signature, “no” is circled by the question asking if she’s currently on any medication.
Bland was arrested on July 10 after a traffic stop. After being pulled over for failing to signal a lane change, the stop that was recorded on the trooper’s dashcam escalated into hostility. At one point, when they are off-camera, she can be heard telling him she has epilepsy.
She was arrested on a charge of assault of a public servant and taken to Waller County jail, where she was found dead in her cell July 13. Authorities say she hanged herself. Family members and friends have questioned that account.
A Texas state senator is criticizing Waller County Jail officials after the release of Sandra Bland’s booking documents, saying a lack of attentiveness heightened the Illinois woman’s suicide risk.
The documents released by Waller County on Wednesday indicate Bland had previously attempted suicide after losing a baby but also indicate Bland did not have suicidal thoughts at the time of her arrest and that neither the arresting officer nor anyone else at the jail believed she was at risk.
State Sen. Royce West said Wednesday that kind of information should have prompted jail officials to place Bland on a suicide watch, meaning a face-to-face check on her welfare every 15 minutes, instead of the hourly checks normally required.
County officials say Bland, who was arrested July 10, was found dead hanging by a plastic bag in her jail cell on July 13.
Sheriff Glenn Smith has said jailers had used an intercom to check on Bland less than an hour before she was found dead.
This item has been corrected to reflect that West said jail officials should have placed Bland on a suicide watch, not West.
Documents filled out for Sandra Bland when she was booked into a Texas jail where officials say she later hanged herself in her cell indicate she had previously attempted suicide after losing a baby.
Bland’s booking documents were released by Waller County on Wednesday. They also indicate Bland did not have suicidal thoughts at the time of her arrest and that neither the arresting officer nor anyone else at the jail believed she was at risk.
But the documents also contain discrepancies.
One questionnaire among the documents says Bland took pills in 2015 in an attempt to kill herself after losing the baby. A separate form filled out by another jail employee says the suicide attempt occurred in 2014. One form indicates Bland had suicidal thoughts within the past year, another says that’s not the case.
Bland was arrested July 10 and was found dead three days later. A medical examiner has ruled her death suicide by hanging. Her family and friends dispute the finding. Texas Rangers and the FBI are investigating.
The sister of a black woman who died in a Texas jail cell three days after being arrested during a traffic stop says she believes her sister acted reasonably when confronted by the arresting officer.
Sharon Cooper said Wednesday during a news conference near Chicago that she, too, would have felt threatened and wouldn’t have gotten out of the car if a trooper had threatened to “light me up.”
The trooper arrested Bland on July 10 after pulling her over for not signaling correctly. Dashcam video shows him holding a stun gun and warning Bland that unless she obeyed his order to exit her car, “I will light you up.”
The trooper is on administrative leave.
A medical examiner ruled Bland’s death suicide by hanging, but her family disputes that.
An attorney representing the family of a black woman who authorities say hanged herself in her Texas jail cell says relatives have “no evidence” that she previously attempted suicide.
Waller County Sheriff Glenn Smith told The Associated Press on Wednesday that 28-year-old Sandra Bland had told a guard about a previous suicide attempt while being asked a series of questions posed to each person booked into the jail.
When asked about Smith’s assertion, Cannon Lambert, an attorney representing Bland’s relatives, said “this family has no evidence that is the case.”
Bland was found dead in three days after her arrest, which followed a confrontation with a white officer who had stopped her for a minor traffic violation.
A medical examiner has ruled her death suicide by hanging. Her family and friends dispute the finding.
Lambert said Wednesday that Bland hadn’t been acting suicidal and the family had no indication she had been treated for depression.
A Texas sheriff says a black woman who was found hanged in her jail cell told the guard as she was being booked into the facility that she previously tried to kill herself.
Waller County Sheriff Glenn Smith told The Associated Press on Wednesday that 28-year-old Sandra Bland had told a jailer July 10 about a previous suicide attempt. He says she provided the information while being asked a series of questions posed to each person booked into the jail in Hempstead, about 60 miles northwest of Houston.
Smith did not provide details about the conversation.
Smith says when a second jailer interviewed Bland, the Illinois woman said she wasn’t depressed and instead was upset about her arrest, which followed a confrontation with a white officer who had stopped her for a minor traffic violation.
Smith says both jailers who spoke with Bland were adamant that she appeared fine when being booked into the jail on a charge of assaulting a public servant.
The family of a woman found dead in her Texas jail cell days after being arrested during a traffic stop says she wasn’t acting suicidal and they had no indication she had been treated for depression.
Cannon Lambert, an attorney for Sandy Bland’s family, said Wednesday at a news conference in suburban Chicago that Bland had just bought groceries and was ecstatic about her new job when she was pulled over July 10 in Texas.
Bland was found dead three days later and the medical examiner called her death suicide by hanging. Her family and friends dispute the finding.
Lambert and Bland’s sister, Sharon Cooper, said the story shouldn’t focus on her death, but why she was arrested and jailed.
The officer was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says the family of a black motorist who died in a jail cell “deserves answers” and that the Texas Rangers will coordinate with the FBI in investigating her arrest and death.
Abbott said in a statement Wednesday that investigators want to ensure that justice is served in the case of 28-year-old Sandra Bland, who authorities say was found hanging in her Waller County jail cell July 13. She had been arrested three days earlier following a confrontation with a white officer who had pulled her over for a minor traffic infraction.
Abbott also expressed condolences to Bland’s family.
Bland’s arrest and death has generated heavy criticism. Her family has said she was looking forward to starting a new job northwest of Houston and wouldn’t contemplate suicide.
Two people questioning the circumstances surrounding the death of a black motorist in a Texas jail cell say the local sheriff should resign.
DeWayne Charleston, a former justice of the peace for Waller County, and LaVaughn Mosley, who was a friend and mentor of Sandra Bland, told county commissioners on Wednesday that Sheriff Glenn Smith should step down.
Charleston says a racist culture persists in the county and that the 28-year-old Bland was in Smith’s custody and control when she died last week.
The county’s top administrative officer, Judge Carbett “Trey” Duhon, said before the meeting that the sheriff is elected and can’t be removed by the commission.
Bland was found dead in her cell July 13, three days after she was arrested during a traffic stop. A medical examiner called the death suicide by hanging, but family and friends dispute that finding.
The attorney for the family of Sandra Bland says her body has been flown back to Chicago in preparation for her funeral.
Cannon Lambert said in an email Wednesday that Bland’s family flew home from Texas on the same flight.
Bland was found dead July 13 in a southeast Texas jail cell, three days after she was arrested during a traffic stop. A medical examiner called the death suicide by hanging. But family and friends have disputed that finding.
Bland, who was from the Chicago suburb of Naperville, was in Texas to interview for a job at Prairie View A&M University, the historically black college from which she graduated in 2009. She got the job and would have started next month.
Her funeral will take place Saturday morning near Chicago.
The Texas Department of Public Safety says patrol car video showing the July 10 arrest of a black motorist by a trooper was not edited or manipulated.
DPS spokesman Tom Vinger told The Associated Press on Wednesday that glitches in the recording occurred when it was uploaded for public viewing. The video has drawn criticism for having gaps and overlaps.
Vinger says DPS will repost the video.
The video released Tuesday shows white Trooper Brian Encinia trying to remove Sandra Bland from her car after a minor traffic infraction. She was found dead July 13 in jail in Hempstead, about 60 miles northwest of Houston. Authorities say she hanged herself.
Vinger says FBI agents examined the camera to ensure the video’s integrity.
He says the entire video was uploaded, including a phone conversation between Encinia and his sergeant. Vinger says video during this conversation was affected in the upload and is being addressed.
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