Did Sandra Bland commit suicide or was she murdered by Texas police?

Sandra Bland

Sandra Bland, a graduate of Prairie View A& M University, an historically black college, was found dead in her jail cell in Waller County on Monday, July 13. Texas officials said she committed suicide but her friends and family say she would not take her own life because she had a lot to live for and was eager to start a new job at her alma mater.

By Carmen Glover

As questions continue to mount over the true cause of 28-year-old activist Sandra Bland’s death in Waller County, Texas, her family announced on Sunday, July 19 that they have requested an independent autopsy to get answers.

“We want to understand how it is that this all played out and what ultimately ended up being the real cause of her death,” said Cannon Lambert, Sr. the family’s attorney.

A video captured Sandra Bland's altercation with Texas police. In the video, a police officer is seen with his knees on her back.

A video captured Sandra Bland’s altercation with Texas police. In the video, a police officer is seen with his knees on her back.

The family is contesting the assertions by Texas officials who ruled her death ‘self-inflicted asphyxiation,” and insisted that Bland hanged herself with a plastic bag while she was held in jail on Monday, July 13. Texas officials pointed to a Facebook message posted by Bland in March 2015, during which she said:

“I’m going through something many of you might be experiencing, It’s a little bit of depression and PTSD.”

Bland did not state in the message whether or not she had been diagnosed by a licensed mental health official or whether she diagnosed herself.

Sandra Bland after she was arrested for failing to signal for a lane change.

Sandra Bland after she was arrested for failing to signal for a lane change.

As vigils and marches continue to express outrage about her death, one central question remains: Why does a motorist end up dead, in jail, for a routine traffic signal?

According to Texas officials, Bland kicked state trooper, Brian Encinia, 30, after he tried to pull her out of her when she failed to signal for a lane turn, on Friday, July 10. Encinia was put on desk duty on Friday, July 17, after an investigation concluded that he violated Texas Department of Public Safety protocols.

William Mitchell, 5, of Houston, holds a sign at a rally at the Waller County Jail in Hempstead, Texas, on Friday July 17, 2015, to protest the death of Sandra Bland, who was found dead in the jail. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

William Mitchell, 5, of Houston, holds a sign at a rally at the Waller County Jail in Hempstead, Texas, on Friday July 17, 2015, to protest the death of Sandra Bland, who was found dead in the jail. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

A video recording that allegedly captured Bland’s altercation with Encinia, showed the woman on the ground with the officer’s knees in her back as Bland raged at him shouting:

“For a traffic signal you shove me into the ground and everything?”

Bland’s older sister Sharon Cooper, said it’s unlikely that Bland committed suicide as the Texas police said, because she had recently moved back to Texas from her hometown of Chicago, to start a new job at her alma mater, Prairie View A&M, an historically black college from which Bland graduated in 2009.

Protests continue as family and community members seek answers about the exact cause of Sandra Bland's death.

Protests continue as family and community members seek answers about the exact cause of Sandra Bland’s death.

“Based on the Sandy I knew, this is unfathomable to me. I heard from her on Saturday and she said her bail was set at $5,000 so we were trying to put that together,” said Cooper, who explained that her sister complained that her hand and shoulder hurt due to what the police did to her. “We’re just trying to understand what happened.”

Meanwhile, Sigma Gamma Rho, Bland’s former sorority, released a statement expressing that they were “deeply saddened by the death of our sorority sister,” and Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said, last week that:

“The death of Sandra Bland will not be swept under the rug. The truth will come out.”

With Bland’s family ordering an independent autopsy, it appears as if they are taking matters into their own hands to ensure that the truth, in fact, comes out.–OnPointPress.net