LISLE, Ill. -- The family of a woman who was found dead in a Texas jail cell spoke out this afternoon after the full, unedited video of her arrest was released.
Sandra Bland had just moved from Naperville to Texas for a new job when she was pulled over in Waller County on July 10th. The trooper says she was pulled over for failure to use a turn signal. The confrontation between Bland and the trooper escalated after she refused to put out her cigarette inside her car. The video shows the trooper forcibly trying to remove Bland from the vehicle. Later, out of the view of the camera, Bland can be heard screaming and saying the trooper slammed her head on the ground.
Bland was taken to the jail and later found dead. Officials say it was suicide.
A Texas state senator is criticizing Waller County Jail officials after the release of Bland's booking documents, saying a lack of attentiveness heightened the Illinois woman's suicide risk.
The documents released by Waller County on Wednesday indicate Bland had previously attempted suicide after losing a baby but also indicate Bland did not have suicidal thoughts at the time of her arrest and that neither the arresting officer nor anyone else at the jail believed she was at risk.
State Sen. Royce West said Wednesday that kind of information should have prompted jail officials to place Bland on a suicide watch, meaning a face-to-face check on her welfare every 15 minutes, instead of the hourly checks normally required.
The documents also say Bland told officials when she was being booked into the jail that she suffered from epilepsy.
The suicide questionnaire that was among booking documents released Wednesday by Waller County shows that Bland also told them she was taking the anti-epileptic drug Keppra.
The documents also contain discrepancies. In another document, one that was to be filled out by the inmate and that contains Bland's signature, "no" is circled by the question asking if she's currently on any medication.
Her family, still in the Chicago area, says that just doesn't make sense. They say watching the dashcam video of the arrest was infuriating.
The family's attorney says they're hiring their own expert to review the dashcam video. The first dashcam video, which was released Tuesday, had some jump cuts which raised questions about whether it had been tampered with. Officials say there were technical glitches that occurred while that video was initially uploaded. They say it was not edited.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott said in a statement today:
Our hearts and prayers remain with the Bland family for their tragic loss. The family deserves answers. The Texas Rangers, working in coordination with the FBI, will conduct a full and thorough investigation that will deliver those answers and work toward the ultimate goal of ensuring justice in this case.
The family brought Sandra Bland's body home from Texas and she will be laid to rest this weekend.
Below is the newly released dashcam video. Warning: viewer discretion advised.