go to content

Family Of Sandra Bland Seeks Independent Autopsy Following Jail Death

Authorities have said Sandra Bland died by self-inflicted asphyxiation, but her family is expecting another opinion in the next several days.

Posted on

Family members of Sandra Bland, the woman found dead in a Texas jail cell three days after she was stopped for a traffic violation, are seeking an independent autopsy, ABC News reported.

An attorney for the family of the 28-year-old Chicago native said the autopsy would be performed Sunday and results were expected within two or three days, ABC News reported. Authorities in Waller County, Texas, said Bland died from "self-inflicted asphyxiation," and a local medical examiner ruled her death a suicide.

Bland was about to start a new job at Prairie View A&M University, where she had gone to college. She was stopped by Texas officers for improperly signaling a lane change, officials said. After the stop, she was arrested on suspicion of "assault on a public servant" and booked into Waller County Jail, officials said.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

A portion of the arrest was captured on cell phone video, showing officers holding Bland to the ground as she yells, "You just slammed my head into the ground."

According to the Texas State Rangers, Bland was "argumentative and uncooperative" during the traffic stop.

After three days in jail, Bland hanged herself with a plastic bag, the Waller County district attorney said. But her family has contended that the circumstances around her death don't make sense.

Bland was described as intelligent and bright, one relative said. She spoke about her struggles with depression and PTSD on social media, and a friend described her as mentally and spiritually strong.

The FBI and Texas authorities are investigating Bland's death. On Friday, the Texas Department of Public Safety announced that violations of procedure and the sheriff department's courtesy policy took place during the traffic stop. The Texas Commission on Jail Standards also identified deficiencies in jail records of mental health training, and found that jail staff failed to make contact with Bland face-to-face every hour as required.

Claudia Koerner is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Claudia Koerner at claudia.koerner@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.