(HEMPSTEAD, Texas) — Texas authorities have revealed what they say is the specific chain of events on the morning of Sandra Bland’s death, as shown in surveillance footage from inside the jail during the hours last week leading up to the discovery of her body.
Bland was arrested July 10 for allegedly assaulting a police officer after he pulled her over in a traffic stop in Waller County, Texas, the Sheriff’s Department said. She was found dead in her jail cell three days later, on July 13, and while officials initially said her death was a suicide, Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis announced Monday night that the case is being investigated by numerous agencies and treated “like a murder investigation.”
The dash-cam footage from the police car is expected to be released Tuesday, along with the results of the independent autopsy report ordered by Bland’s family after the death was first declared a suicide.
Here is the authorities’ breakdown of the jail’s surveillance footage, including the moment when a jailer discovered the Chicago-area woman, 28, hanging from a partition in her cell.
Jailers “visually noted” that Bland appeared fine and one official spoke with her directly, Capt. Brian Cantrell said at a news conference Monday night.
Cantrell said Bland told the jailer “I’m fine.”
Bland used the intercom in her cell to contact the jail’s main control room. She asked how to make a phone call from the phone on the wall of her cell.
She was told to use the four-digit PIN that she had been assigned during her booking process. The jail has no record of her ever making a call on the phone, however, officials said.
About an hour later, a female jailer went to Bland to see whether she wanted to go to the facility’s recreational hall, but that is when the female jailer saw that something was wrong.
“The jailer looked through the window and observed Miss Bland hanging from her privacy partition in her cell,” Cantrell said Monday.
The jail’s surveillance footage shows the woman walking and then running to get help, alerting others and bringing them into the cell with her.
The female jailer and the men who subsequently came to check appear to bend down to look through the window into the cell before entering.
Cantrell said Bland’s “feet were on the ground” and she had appeared to use a plastic bag that had been put in the cell’s trash can as a liner to hang herself.
Shortly after 9:00 a.m.
A different crew of people with a stretcher are seen rushing to the area near cell 95, where Bland had been placed.
The stretcher is rolled back out of the area minutes later with Bland lying on top.
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