Sandra Bland, the Texas woman who was discovered dead in a jail cell after being arrested for a traffic violation, was found by an initial autopsy to have committed suicide. The autopsy backs up what was previously reported by Waller County officials.
The medical examiner’s report failed to satisfy critics of the police that the activist had indeed taken her own life by hanging herself with a trash bag.
One of the more disturbing theories to come out of the speculation is that Bland’s mugshot was not taken when she was arrived, but after she was already dead:
Some who subscribe to the theory that police murdered her and are covering it up believe the background behind her is not one of a wall, but of a concrete floor.
Ms. Bland, who was a critic of high-profile cases involving altercations between police and minorities, was starting a new job and there are claims that she therefore would never have committed suicide.
Her family and friends were contacted by the media and support such a view. They add that she had no history of mental illness.
However, a Facebook post by Bland herself in March tells a different story.
“I am suffering from something that some of you may be dealing with right now,” she said. “It’s a little bit of depression as well as PTSD.
In addition to conflicting reports about her mental health state, there are others who point to an alleged prior suicide attempt. Her booking documents, however, show a discrepancy:
An inmate who was at the jail when Bland was taken into custody avers that Bland was “emotional” and “crying” often before her tragic death, as was reported by CNN:
CNN also interviewed the District Attorney on the case, who discussed the alleged prior suicide attempt.
Twitter exploded when the autopsy was released backing up the official statement that Bland had committed suicide:
How does the DA in Waller County get away with making these egregious statements about #SandraBland?
— Mona da Whistleblower (@MoSilkyMo) July 24, 2015
#SandraBland this breaks my heart, people shouldn't be harmed for their damn color.
— h (@mahboylouis) July 24, 2015
— Kim “Jessica from Chicago” Bellware (@bellwak) July 24, 2015
— Shaun Khan (@ShaunFromBklyn) July 23, 2015
There were purported discrepancies between the audio and video with Bland’s traffic stop video. A highway trooper arrested her for improper signaling and then allegedly assaulting a police officer on July 10.
If there’s anything we know from such stories in the past, this case is far from over.