Texas judge says officials have received death threats and threats against their facilities
The video is being released to dispel rumors that Bland was dead before she was brought to jail, he says
Officials have said Bland hanged herself, but her family and others question that account
Authorities in Waller County, Texas, released hours of jail video on Tuesday in an effort to knock down the idea that Sandra Bland was dead before she was brought to jail.
Bland, 28, was found dead in her cell three days after she was arrested for allegedly failing to use her turn signal on July 10. Officials have said she hanged herself with a plastic bag, but her family and others have questioned that account.
“The reason we’re doing this is because of the misinformation that has been put out – both through social media and even through mainstream media – that has led to the rumors that Sandra Bland was in some way deceased, or harmed, or not well when she was brought in to the Waller County Jail,” Waller County Judge Trey Duhon told reporters.
Death threats and cyberattack
He said that Waller County officials have received death threats. They have also received threats against their facilitates.
“We are under cyberattack by individuals like the group called Anonymous, who has claimed that Sandra Bland is deceased in the mugshot. You will see video here today that will show that she was alive and well when her mugshot was taken,” said Duhon.
The video, which does not have sound, shows Bland being brought into the jail. Her handcuffs are removed during an initial intake, at which she appears to be coherent and cooperative.
At one point, Bland holds her head in her hands. At another point, she steps into a bathroom to change her clothes. Bland has her mugshot taken, and she can be seen making a phone call.
Footage from the following day shows Bland meeting with a judge. She makes several more phone calls.
Duhon told reporters the video had not been altered or changed in any way. He acknowledged some people will still have doubts, also that he wishes authorities had released the new video earlier than Tuesday.
“It’s a bigger commentary on the age we live in, when information is demanded immediately, and if it’s not received, then people go to make up their own story,” he said.
Authorities have released other footage in Bland’s case, including more jail video and dashcam video of her arrest.
The first video of the arrest contained problems, which raised a number of questions. In parts of the footage, the video was looped while the officer’s audio continued uninterrupted.
There were moments when a car or wrecker driver appeared in the frame, suddenly disappeared, and then appeared again.
A Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman chalked the inconsistencies up to a technical issue, and a new version of the video, which did not have the same problems, was later released.
“If this helps a few people understand, and dispel some of the rumors going around, then it’s worth our time to do this here today,” said Duhon.
Waller County is northwest of Houston.