Sandra Bland Previously Attempted Suicide, New Evidence Suggests
Sandra Bland had told jailers at the Waller County, Texas jail where she was imprisoned following a traffic stop that she had previously attempted suicide.
The new evidence, revealed in a form detailing a closed meeting with County officials on Tuesday, said that Bland had indicated that she had attempted suicide because of the loss of a baby. While she said she was not suicidal at the time of the arrest, Rep. Sylvester Turner told the Houston Chronicle that Bland’s mental history was “a little fuzzy.”
Video from TIME
According to a copy of the form where the information was filled out by someone on Bland’s behalf, one of the questions reads, “Have you ever attempted suicide?” The answer reads, “Yes,” with 2014 as the date. The reason given is “lost baby” and the method of the suicide attempt has been noted as “pills,” as reported by CBS News.
On the other hand, a typed summary of Bland’s response in the subsequent page reads the answer to the question “Attempted suicide?” as “No.”
Cannon Lambert Sr., the attorney for the Bland family, said there was no supporting evidence to affirm that Bland was receiving treatment for depression or that she had ever attempted suicide.
Her body was found hanging from a partition jail cell on July 13, three days after her arrest. She had used a plastic trash bag to kill herself.
Bland was going to begin a job at her alma mater, Prairie View A&M University, next month. Lambert Sr. said that Bland was excited for her job.
“I can tell you that we take issue with the notion that she had depression,” Lambert Sr. said.
He further said that Bland was not clinically diagnosed with depression, nor was her family aware that she was consuming medication for the same. However, she did experience “hills and valleys,” he said.
There are suspicions building that Bland could have died after Officer Brian Encinia, who made the traffic stop, attacked her while trying to remove her from the car.
In a Facebook post that Bland posted in March, she said that she was suffering from “a little bit of depressing as well as PTSD,” which is post traumatic stress disorder. However, a friend said that the post was a result of a bad day.
A dash-cam video of Bland’s arrest following a traffic stop made by Encinia showed that the officer had asked Bland to put out her cigarette; but when she refused to do so, he threatened her with a Taser. He then tried to physically take her out of the car.
According to the arrest warrant authored by Encinia, Bland was “combative and uncooperative,” that she kicked him and was handcuffed “for officer safety”; pending which Bland was charged with assault on a public servant.
Encinia was placed on administrative leave.
Turner said that the authorities should have monitored Bland more closely after learning of her previous suicide attempt. He further said that there is “the need to make sure we provide the care and the interventions for people who are having a behavioral and mental health issues when people are coming into our county jail system.”
Bland’s sister, Sharon Cooper, said that the arrest was “petty,” as reported by The Washington Post.
In a news conference, Cooper said, “She was pulled over for something so insignificant because an officer felt that maybe his ego was bruised. Not once did he ever say he was threatened.”
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