Texas officials released new video on Tuesday showing 28-year-old Sandra Bland arriving at Waller County Jail in Texas before she was found hanging in her jail cell three days later.
Officials are trying to dispel rumours circulating on social media that Bland was already dead by the time she was booked.
“The reason we are doing this is because of the misinformation that is has been put out both by social media and even by mainstream media that has led to the rumours that Sandra Bland was in some way deceased or harmed or not well when she was brought into the Waller County Jail,” said Waller County Judge Trey Duhon during a news conference.
Authorities have said that Bland hanged herself with a trash bag in her cell three days after being arrested for allegedly assaulting a police officer after a routine traffic stop.
Police also have said that Bland told jailers she suffered from depression and had attempted suicide in the past.
The most prominent of the rumours circling the internet is from notorious hackivist group Anonymous, which released a video on YouTube alleging that Sandra Bland was dead in her mugshot.
The video has over 1.5 million view on YouTube:
Activists say that Bland’s July 10 arrest for a minor traffic offence is another example of police brutality toward minorities.
Local offices have been under cyber attack and some local officials have received death threats, Trey Duhon, the Waller County judge, said at a news conference.
During the news conference, Duhon presented a number of videos of Bland in the jail, alive and well. The first depicts Bland upon arrival, as she is escorted from a squad car to a holding area.
The videos according to Duhon, were exported directly from the digital video recorders at the Waller County Jail, which are kept “under lock and key” and are not under access by the Waller County Sheriff’s Office.
“This is Sandra Bland. There’s no other way around it. This video has not been altered or doctored in any way. These are the raw files,” he said.
The second video shows Bland in a holding area as jail employees filling out a mental health video. Another video shows her standing for a mug shot.
The video shows her making a phone call from jail and being arraigned by a justice of the peace.
Bland, a former Chicago-area resident, was pulled over by white Texas state trooper Brian Encinia near Prairie View, northwest of Houston, for failing to signal a lane change.
The stop escalated into a verbal altercation after Encinia asked Bland to put out a cigarette and she refused. Bland was arrested and charged with assaulting an officer, a felony. Bond was set at $US5,000 in a court appearance the following day.
Bland was found hanging in her jail cell on the morning of July 13, with a plastic trash bag around her neck. An autopsy confirmed an initial finding by a medical examiner that Bland’s death was a suicide.
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