Lawyer: Here's Why Sandra Bland Was Really Arrested

Attorney Cannon Lambert describes what he saw in dashcam video
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 20, 2015 6:15 PM CDT

The traffic stop that led to Sandra Bland's death escalated over something fairly minor, according to the family's lawyer. Named Cannon Lambert, he tells NBC News what he saw in dashcam video of the black activist's roadside traffic stop on July 10 in Texas. Lambert says the state trooper involved ran her license and walked back to her car with an apparent written warning. That's when he asked her put out her cigarette: "'Why do I have to put out a cigarette when I'm in my own car?'" says Lambert, quoting Bland. "And that seemed to irritate him to the point where he said, 'Get out of the car.'" When she didn't want to, he pulled a Taser, and the 28-year-old Chicago native got out.

That's when she tried to kick an officer, officials say, and bystander video shows two officers restraining Bland. She purportedly hanged herself three days later in a Waller County jail cell—a claim disputed by her family. "There are concerns regarding the findings already ... so we are doing our own due diligence," says Lambert. Today, civil rights activists in Texas called for the Justice Department to conduct its own investigation, the LA Times reports. "This was not a suicide," said a reverend standing in front of the jail where Bland died. "This behind me was murder." The county sheriff, Glenn Smith, was fired in 2008 from his last job as police chief of Hempstead, Texas, over allegations of racist behavior, the Guardian reports. Denying the allegations, he was elected sheriff of Waller County later that year. (More racism stories.)

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