Friends and relatives of a 28-year-old Naperville businesswoman are angrily questioning her hanging death in a Texas jail.
Sandra Bland was found dead in a Waller County, Texas, jail cell on Monday at 9 a.m. after being arrested for allegedly assaulting a police officer during a routine traffic stop, the I-Team has learned. Authorities say her death appears to be suicide.
In numerous emails and phone calls to the ABC7 I-Team, her friends and relatives say they do not believe the official version of what happened and say this is a case of foul play in a county with a history racial intolerance.
Bland was pulled over Friday for improper signaling a lane change, according to Waller County Sheriff’s Department officials. They say she was charged with “Assault on a Public Servant” and taken into custody by a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper.
Bland’s friends say she was with her family in suburban Chicago over the July 4th holiday and was driving to Texas with her mother. She was going to her alma mater, Texas Prairie View A & M, for a speech on civil rights, child welfare and social issues.
The Willowbrook High School graduate died by “self-inflicted asphyxiation,” according to sheriff’s deputies, who have turned the investigation over to Texas Rangers.
In a press release from the sheriff’s department, authorities say they applied CPR, but Bland was pronounced dead shortly after she was found.
Officials have not released her name, but family members and friends have.
“Sheriff R Glenn Smith states that any loss of life is a tragic incident,” the release says. “While the investigation is being conducted by outside agencies, the Waller County Sheriff’s Office will continue to observe the daily operations of the jail to always look for improvements and/or preventions of these incidents.”
Members of Bland’s family and some friends say they will converge on Wednesday to protest in Waller County, Texas, which is 50 miles north of Houston. Family members say they intend to bring her body back to Illinois for burial when authorities release it.
Source: ABC News