Could Arrest Video Hold Answers in Odd Jail Death?

Family members say Sandra Bland's jail death wasn't suicide
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 17, 2015 4:57 AM CDT

Sandra Bland was supposed to start a new job this week, but she was found dead in a jail cell Monday morning in what police say was a suicide and family members say was something more sinister. The Chicago-area resident was taken into custody after allegedly kicking an officer during a traffic stop in Waller County, Texas, last Friday, and state Sen. Royce West has asked authorities to release video of the arrest to shed light on the "tragic, and I will call suspicious" death, the Dallas Morning News reports. The Guardian reports that bystander video shows Bland, who was pulled over for failing to signal a lane change, being restrained by two officers and yelling, "You just slammed my head into the ground. Do you not even care about that?"

Authorities say the 28-year-old—who made a Facebook video in April condemning police brutality, the New York Times reports—hanged herself with a plastic bag, and hallway video doesn't show anybody entering the cell before she was found dead, reports the Morning News. The investigation has been turned over to the Texas Rangers and the FBI, but family members and supporters are calling for a Justice Department probe and an independent autopsy. "It doesn't make sense that this young lady who appeared to be healthy would have reason to commit suicide," the president of the Houston chapter of the NAACP tells the Chicago Tribune. "Supposedly she had some damage when she was thrown to the pavement. She may have suffered a concussion or internal brain damage." (More Sandra Bland stories.)

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