Neighbouring inmate says Sandra Bland was distraught

2015-07-24 15:27
Sandra Bland following her arrest. (Waller County Sheriff’s Office, AFP)

Sandra Bland following her arrest. (Waller County Sheriff’s Office, AFP)

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Hempstead - A woman who occupied a jail cell next to Sandra Bland before Bland was found dead says the Chicago-area woman was emotional and wept often during her three days in jail.

Alexandria Pyle tells KTRK televisio in Houston that Bland was "sort of distraught" that a friend hadn't come to bail her out of the Waller County jail in Hempstead, Texas.

She says Bland said she "was not equipped" for incarceration and thought she was the victim of an injustice.

Pyle also says she heard no signs of a struggle in the cell.

Bland was jailed July 10 after a routine traffic stop by a Texas state trooper in Prairie View, Texas, escalated into a struggle between her and the trooper. Bland was found hanged by a plastic bag wrapped around her neck in her jail cell in what authorities have concluded was a suicide.

Waller County Sheriff Glenn Smith released a statement on Thursday saying guards evaluated 28-year-old Sandra Bland and determined she wasn't suicidal when she was booked into the county jail on July 10.

Smith says he's forming a task force to review jail procedures, evaluate personnel and study other relevant issues.

Marijuana

Jail records show that Bland told a worker she'd attempted suicide in the past. One document indicates Bland said she'd had suicidal thoughts within the past year, but another says that wasn't the case.

Smith said Wednesday that two jailers who evaluated Bland were "adamant" she appeared fine.

Bland, who was black, was arrested following a confrontation with a white state trooper who pulled her over for a minor traffic offense. She was jailed on a charge of assaulting a public servant. She was found hanging in her cell three days later.

A prosecutor says preliminary autopsy results showed that Bland had marijuana in her system and weeks-old cuts on her wrist that were likely self-inflicted.

Waller County prosecutor Warren Diepraam says preliminary drug test results from 28-year-old Sandra Bland are worth noting because they could be "relevant to her state of mind".

He also says the autopsy revealed about 30 cuts on Bland's left wrist that were likely self-inflicted two to four weeks before her arrest.

Diepraam says autopsy results are consistent with a suicide, though Bland's family questions whether she took her own life.

Authorities say Bland was found hanging in her jail cell three days after she was pulled over for a minor traffic infraction in Texas.

Video of the stop shows the state trooper, who is white, drawing a stun gun and threatening Bland, who was black, when she refuses to follow his orders to get out of the vehicle.

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