The autopsy of a woman who was found dead in a Texas jail three days after she was arrested ruled that she committed suicide, according to authorities.
Waller County prosecutor Warren Diepraam said that Sandra Bland, 28, did not bear any defensive bruises on her hands, which are normally indicative of struggle. Laceration and abrasions, which could have been sustained during her struggle of being handcuffed, were found on her wrists. As reported by Yahoo News, there were 30 small cuts on her wrists that appeared to have been inflicted in the last few weeks.
The mark around Bland’s neck confirmed that she had committed suicide by hanging herself, Diepraam said.
“There were no bite marks or other injuries on her face, on her lips, on her tongue, which would be consistent with a violent struggle,” he said.
The scabs discovered on her back and right side of the shoulder blade could have come about from someone applying force or her applying force against an object.
Diepraam further stated that marijuana had been found in Bland’s system at the time of her death. According to NBC News, District Attorney Elton Mathis said that this discovery could mean that she had either “smoked marijuana recently or possibly ingested a large amount of marijuana prior to her being placed in the jail.”
Although Diepraam expressed that it was “hypothetically possible that [the marijuana] could have been smoked in the jail,” a search of the jail returned with empty results. The other convicts did not smell anything suspicious, Diepraam said.
While “very overwhelming evidence” regarding Bland’s death surfaced in the autopsy findings, Diepraam said that the case hadn’t been closed, as reported by CNN.
“I feel comfortable that their findings are correct, but there’s still a lot of information out there so we’re not forming any conclusions at this point,” he said.
“Nothing is certain.”
Bland was found dead in the Texas jail three days after she was arrested on July 10 for not signalling a lane change. The traffic stop was made by State Trooper Brian Encinia, who asked her to put out her cigarette and get out of her car. When she questioned him, he threatened to “light her up” with Taser.
A dash-cam video of the arrest, released by the Texas Department of Public Safety, captured the encounter between Bland and Encinia. While several inconsistencies have been noted in the video – which seems to have been edited – the department said that the video was not tampered with and that the irregularities were the result of a technical glitch.
A cellphone video footage taken by a bystander shows what transpired after Encinia made the traffic stop.
In the video, the woman identified as Bland can be heard screaming, “Hey! You just slammed my head to the ground! You do not even care about that? I can’t even hear!”
“All of this for a traffic signal!”
“Thank you for recording!” she said to the bystander. “Thank you!”
Bland’s family and friends did not agree with the official account – that she hung herself with a plastic trash bag in her jail cell – of what occurred.
According to jail intake forms, Bland had attempted suicide last year after losing a baby. She had also been “very depressed” in the past.
Mathis said the investigation was still ongoing.
“This is of course an ongoing investigation, as far as any criminal culpability on the behalf of the trooper we are treating that the same way we are with the jail death,” he said.
He added the he would “reserve judgment” until the investigation was complete.
“Some of the best evidence we would have in making that determination is that cell phone video,” he said.
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