Family of Sandra Bland raises questions after dashcam video, documents released

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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.

RELATED: Click here for Sandra Bland's booking documents

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.

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17 comments

  • april harris

    That was so wrong he didnt do that to the car he stopped before he need to understand shes adult like he is so out of order

  • Ayonna

    That cop was in the wrong and I can’t understand why he made a big deal about her putting out her cigarete in her own car. My thing is he got more agitated with her when she told him wait till they go to court and how she was gonna bring that up in court. She basically showed him how smart of a black intelligent woman she was and he couldn’t stand that therefore he shoved her to the ground. Believe me it’s more to the story, we couldn’t see all the evidence because he moved her away from the camera. Her family deserves justice. I am so sick of all these racist cops. It’s just ridicolous.

    • Josh

      That’s the most ignorant thing I’ve ever heard. All he was going to do was give her a warning and then she starting running her mouth off to an authority figure. She brought everything that happened to her on herself.

      • Angel Norton

        You’re wrong. He said, to her you look upset, mad, etc. he asked her what her feelings where. She answered him. He was running his mouth to her. She had every right as you would to ask why he was taking it that far. I’d use her words myself. Freedom of speech! He just didn’t like it or her.You don’t know until it happens to you or one of your family members. I hope he gets the death penalty. A life for a life. My prayers are with her family ^^ #JusticeforSandraBland

  • Ann Kennedy

    Royce West is a pot-stirring attention seeker. He claims that “lack of attentiveness heightened the Illinois woman’s suicide risk.” She initiated her own suicide. Someone with her strength of will would not be stopped by more frequent checks. Checks might have delayed it, but again, this is a jail, not a psych ward.

  • Naomi Harden

    I really hope the bland family does everything possible to make that officer pay dearly. I just watched the whole thing. The previous stop he clearly stated it was a warning as he walked up to the car. With Ms. Bland he wanted her cigarette out first why? I don’t like smoke but if u do it it’s on you . He was the one who was irritated. Why cause she wouldn’t put her cigarette out? He should not be allowed back to work nor the other two officers who were present. You rep what you sew officers. It may not be you but someone you love. My prayers are with the bland family and may justice prevail. So said the people we trust to serve and protect us have issues as well and sometimes they don’t do there jobs as they should. Stay strong Bland family

    • Carrie

      Yeah, stay strong Bland family. Get your lawyer on the phone, get those memorial t-shirts printed up, get the community rally organized (with Father Pfleger, if possible), cry for the TV cameras…etc. This is getting really old.

  • Angel Norton

    How’d she get a plastic bag? I’m assuming their saying she hanged herself or put it over her own face . Do they really believe the world is that dumb? From the start of the video you can see he was bating her into a disagreement. She was right on everything she was trying to tell the racist cop.She did Nothing wrong but not use her turn signal. My prayers to her family ^^ #JusticeforSandraBland

  • wjss75606

    I would try and educate people here on police procedures, but I feel no one really wants to know the truth. Sounds like most of the responders are of the “hands up-don’t shoot” crowd of police haters. Oh and if you remember even a biased DOJ and the FBI said that never happened, but you still want to believe it. I feel sorry for you holding a hatred and racist opinion towards the police. For the record, a lit cigarette can be used as a weapon. More than one officer has lost sight in an eye from a cigarette flicked into the eyes, that is why he wanted the cigarette put out. I would try to explain more but again, you don’t want truth, you want your hatred and racists rants against a white officer. Oh as a final thought where was this so distraught family while she was in jail for 3 days? No one have bail money? No they didn’t care until they see $$$ signs, don’t let their current concern fool you. But I guess that’s your choice, you like being fooled to fit your own bias.

  • Tired of it all

    WJSS75606 you are exactly right. I was going to ask, she called her sister why did no one in her family bail her out? Did they think she deserved to be in jail? I think people are messing with the police on purpose just to try to get a case and get some money. Her family says she never suicidal but records show she was, guess she not that close to her family. Maybe the change in job and environment was what she wanted to change her depressing life. Either way, she did what she did and the family needs to deal with that and quit trying to blame everything on the police. Now I hear of someone wanting to sue police due to police chase where the criminal hit a person and killed them, wake up people sue the stinkin criminal..but then again most of the criminals won’t have money. I still never see any people rioting when a black person gets injured or killed by another black person, that poor child that was killed, why not riot against the person that killed him? Always about color of person and no one wants to admit that, If the cop with Sandra had been black would all this stil be going on? I wish Sandra’s famil would answer question why they did not bail her out???

  • joe

    She was confrontational. Got that mouth going non-stop. BWT, if her family was soooo concerned about her well-being, why didn’t they bail her out? The more facts (and not opinions) that come out, the clearer the picture becomes.

  • Carlton

    I am very sorry for the devastating and unexpected loss of life. Upon seeing the dashcam video, I immediately recognized that this woman struggled with substance abuse and related behavioral health problems. Anyone who has experience with this first-hand knows that dysfunctional personality traits (like a combative attitude and self-righteous arguing) present themselves weather the user is intoxicated or not. I am sad that all-too-often our police seem I’ll-equipped to recognize and handle this kind of problem. More education. More treatment. Less stigma. Fewer deaths.

    • tina

      I think the department of justice should listen to your comment. That is exactly was i said when I saw this. what you say echoes what this cops defenders are saying but with the right message. “what person in their right mind provokes a cop”. You don’t throw everyone with mental issues in jail because you dislike how what they said made you feel. That person with mental issue might just commit suicide. Cops are suppose to protect (you know reduce death and so on). If there action is causing more death, shouldn’t that be addressed.

  • Claire Amos

    The officer slammed her head on the ground. Couldn’t that of caused her death a few days later? Wouldn’t a plastic bag rip if someone tried to hang themselves with it? She was so proud to be about to start the new job and she wanted her mother to be so proud of her when she left her that message to her. She was new to town, vulnerable and he preyed on her. It is so tragic and unfair. He was so tricky and took her outside of the cameras view. He asked her what was wrong and when she told him he flew into the rage. She was just trying to protect herself with her language in the only way she could because she sensed the trouble about to unfold…I respect the dignity and righteousness of her true Self. I have so many tears and so much sorrow about this. I hope the Truth will prevail…

  • DeMar

    I’m not taking sides on this because at the end of this all she ended up going to jail. The cop had a legal right to request her to exit her vehicle but his timing when he decided to use his authority was off. He only asked her to get out of the car when she wouldn’t put out the cigarette. In my humble opinion, the cop should have just wrote the ticket. She should have complied shut up and got on with her lives. Obviously, none of that happened. Now, her family just left her in jail and there aren’t any statements about why they didn’t come up with $500 to get this woman out. I was a got damn criminal growing up and if there was a bond no matter what state I was in I was getting the hell out. This is a shame on a million levels but at the end of it all her family should have gotten her out of jail.

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