The circumstances surrounding the death of 28-year-old Sandra Bland in her Texas jail cell earlier this week are being scrutinised further, now that Bland’s booking documents have been released to the public.
Authorities have said that Bland hung herself with a trash bag in her cell three days after being arrested for allegedly assaulting a police officer after a routine traffic stop. They also have said that Bland told jailers she suffered from depression and had attempted suicide in the past.
The booking documents Bland had to fill out and sign, however, contain contradictory information, according to The Associated Press.
When asked if she had thought about killing herself in the past year, Bland apparently responded “No,” according to the documents, which were posted by The Los Angeles Times. Two questions later, however, the response to “Have you ever attempted suicide,” including when, why, and how, reads: “Yes, in 2015, lost baby, by taking pills.”
Yet another question on a later page shows that Bland had never attempted suicide.
More inconsistencies arise when the document asks about any medication she had been taking. The document states that Bland told jailers she suffered from Epilepsy and was taking Keppra, a medication used to treat seizures.
Another section of the document, however, states that Bland was not taking any medications at the time.
This isn’t the first time people have speculated that authorities may have altered documents from the day of Bland’s arrest. The director of “Selma,” among others, questioned whether the dashcam footage of Bland’s arrest released earlier this week had been edited due to strange glitches and cuts in the video.
In a statement Wednesday, Texas DPS spokesman Tom Vinger denied that the video had been edited. Reuters reported that the video would be re-released after the FBI confirmed its legitimacy.
Bland ended up in police custody after a routine traffic stop during which she was arrested on charges of assault on a public servant after she became “argumentative and uncooperative,” according to a DPS statement.
In the morning a few days later, a Texas Ranger found Bland in her cell “not breathing from what appears to be self-inflicted asphyxiation,” the Waller County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement, according to The Houston Chronicle.
Bland’s sister called her suicide “unfathomable” in a press conference last week, while another friend told USA Today that “she was looking forward to posting bond Saturday and getting out. So you don’t go from that to hanging yourself.”
The lead prosecutor in the case told reporters at a press conference Thursday that Bland’s autopsy report revealed that some of her injuries were consistent with suicide, but none were consistent with violent homicide.
Bland’s death is currently under investigation by the Texas Rangers, and the investigation recently expanded to include the FBI. Additionally, DPS is conducting an internal review of the traffic stop.
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