A Texas DA says preliminary autopsy results indicate Sandra Bland had marijuana in her system and cutting scars on her arm
Bland died three days after her arrest; authorities say she committed suicide, but family has doubts
People on social media have questions around the incident
The circumstances behind the death of 28-year-old Sandra Bland in a Texas jail cell have prompted a national debate. Texas law enforcement officials believe Bland hanged herself with a trash bag, but her family has raised doubts.
Since Bland’s death on July 13, people on social media have shared their concerns and questions over the incidents. Here are five questions people are asking online about the case and Bland’s death:
Why would Sandra Bland kill herself?
Many have questioned why Bland would take her own life, including her family. The 28-year-old woman was not clinically diagnosed with depression or on any medication. She was described as being “ecstatic” at the prospect of starting a new job at her alma mater in Texas, family attorney Cannon Lambert said at a press conference.
At the same time, an inmate who was held in a cell adjacent to Bland told CNN she did not hear any commotion or screaming that would suggest foul play before Bland was found dead.
The woman, who asked not to be identified, said Bland was emotional and often crying during her three days in the jail.
How can someone hang themselves with a trash bag?
The cause of Sandra Bland’s death was hanging; the manner of death was suicide, Warren Diepraam, a Waller County, Texas, prosecutor, told reporters, citing preliminary autopsy results on Thursday.
“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,” said Diepraam.
Although the investigation is not finished, the prosecutor added that the autopsy found high levels of marijuana in Bland’s blood at the time of her death.
She also had approximately 30 “cut marks,” on her left wrist, according to Diepraam, which were in a state of healing.
Are there cameras monitoring the cells?
There is video footage from inside the Texas jailhouse showing the hallway outside Bland’s cell, but there is no footage from inside the cell.
What happened to the trooper who arrested Bland?
Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw said State Trooper Brian Encinia has been taken off the street and has been assigned administrative duties pending the outcome of an investigation.
Encinia has not spoken publicly about Bland’s arrest. He gave his account in his arrest warrant affidavit, as reported by CNN affiliate KPRC-TV in Houston.
In the affidavit the trooper wrote that Bland became “combative and uncooperative.”
“Bland began swinging her elbows at me and then kicked my right leg in the shin,” Encinia said. “Force was used to subdue Bland to the ground to which Bland continued to fight back.”
Encinia wrote that Bland was placed under arrest “for Assault on a Public Servant.”
What did she write for the suicide questions?
Authorities released jail intake forms late Wednesday that appear to show Bland answering “yes” to the following questions:
- Have you ever been very depressed?
- Do you feel this way now?
- Have you had thoughts of killing yourself in the last year?
- Have you ever attempted suicide?
The documents stated that Bland attempted suicide in 2014 by taking pills. But on a different sheet, which surfaced later, the word “no” appears next to questions about mental illness and attempted suicide.
A reason for the apparent discrepancy was not immediately clear.
CNN’s Dana Ford and Greg Botelho contributed to this report.