Sandra Bland ‘told officers she had tried to commit suicide before’ 


Family disputes sheriff’s account, saying the 28-year-old was upbeat and excited at starting a new job as probe into her death continues

A black woman who was found hanging dead in her Texas jail cell last week after her arrest following a minor traffic violation told officers she had attempted to commit suicide in the past year, according to the county sheriff. “On the first initial questionnaire when she came in, she told (the jailers) she had tried to commit suicide last year,” said Glenn Smith, Waller County Sheriff.

However, he added that Sandra Bland also said she was not depressed. The 28-year-old was found hanging in her jail cell on July 13 with a plastic rubbish bag around her neck, three days after being arrested for a traffic violation.

A video of the arrest shows a police officer appearing to threaten her with a Taser and saying : “I will light you up.”

Her death has provoked outrage across the US, coming in the wake of a string of police killings of young, unarmed, black men.

It would be very hard to imagine a white middle class woman being treated in the same way as Sandra Bland was.

“This family has no evidence” she ever tried to commit suicide, said Cannon Lambert.

The family has maintained that Ms Bland, 28, was excited to start her new job at her alma mater, Prairie View A&M University, and was not suicidal.

Mr Smith said the jailers on duty when Ms Bland was admitted felt she was not a suicide risk based on their observations and her statement on the questionnaire that she was not depressed at the time

A vigil for Sandra Bland in Prairie View, Texas, earlier this month

She was pulled over on July 10 near Prairie View, Texas, northwest of Houston, for failing to indicate before changing lanes. After the incident escalated into an altercation between her and the trooper, Ms Bland was taken into custody and charged with assaulting an officer. She was found hanging in her jail cell on July 13 with a plastic rubbish bag around her neck.

Her death was originally ruled a suicide, although officials have said they are handling it as a murder probe.

Source: Telegraph

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