(HOUSTON) — The woman who was found dead in a Texas jail days after being arrested following a traffic stop told guards that she previously tried to kill herself, according to the sheriff’s office.
The Waller County Sheriff told ABC News that Sandra Bland told jailers that she had tried to commit suicide at some point. It is unclear when she allegedly said this.
Bland was arrested on July 10 and was found hanging in her cell three days later, with the plastic cell trash bin liner around her neck, officials previously said.
Cannon Lambert, the attorney hired to represent Bland’s relatives, was asked Wednesday by a reporter about a newspaper report citing the claim of the previous attempt.
“I know what the newspaper article said,” Lambert said. “Until I see the reports, I won’t be in a position where I can respond to that question.”
Lambert would also not confirm any of Bland’s medical history, including the assertion that she was heard making on the police dash-cam video that she has epilepsy or in videos she posted before her arrest where she said that she had suffered from depression and post traumatic stress disorder.
“I can take issue with the notion that she was suffering from depression,” Lambert said at a press conference today.
“She was never clinically diagnosed as this family understands,” he added, noting that they knew of “no medication” that she was taking.
“With regard to her medical history, none of that has anything to do with why that stop took place,” Lambert said.
Waller County Judge Trey Duhon told ABC News that Bland had a court appearance on Saturday July 11 and her bond was set at $5,000.
He also confirmed that she made phone calls from jail, though the number of calls has not yet been confirmed.
Bland’s relatives said they were “infuriated” after the release of the dash-cam footage of the stop.
“In looking at that as her sister, I simply feel like the officer was picking on her. Point blank, period,” her sister, Sharon Cooper said in the family’s hometown of Chicago Wednesday afternoon.
A highway trooper pulled Bland over for failing to signal but she was arrested for assaulting the officer after their altercation escalated from verbal to physical.
When asked if she believed her sister was pulled over because of her race, Cooper said that she thought “he pulled her over because she was an out-of-state resident.”
Cooper, who stood alongside her mother, other sister and several religious leaders, said that her sister must have felt scared because of the trooper’s alleged threats and decision to point a stun gun at Bland.
“When you tell me you’re going to light me up, I feel extremely threatened and I’m not going to get out of my car,” she said, defending her sister’s actions.
“I’m infuriated and everybody else should be infuriated as well,” she said of the trooper’s actions.
Lambert said that they were not in a position to accept or deny the Texas Department of Public Safety’s claims that the dash cam footage has not been edited, and they said that if they are going to make a decision on that they will have to call in a video expert.
“The long and short of it is we want everything that happened… up until the time that she was found to have died and beyond to come to light,” Lambert said.
The trooper involved in the car stop has been put on administrative duties pending the outcome of the investigation.
Officials have said that Bland committed suicide in her jail cell on July 13 based on preliminary information.
The family has ordered an independent autopsy of Bland, though they have not publicly released the results nor have they confirmed that the results have been finalized.
“Right now Sandy is speaking and this family feels Sandy is speaking saying ‘Find the truth,'” Lambert said.
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