Sandra Bland's Death Is Now Being Treated Like A 'Murder Investigation'
A Texas official declared Sandra Bland's death will continue to be investigated as a murder, despite initially being deemed a suicide.
According to The Texas Tribune, Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis made this decision after hearing from Bland's family and the last people to see her alive she did not appear poised to kill herself.
At a news conference on Monday, Mathis reportedly said,
This investigation is still being treated just as it would be a murder investigation.
He added the cause of death will be decided by a grand jury expected to be chosen next month.
Aside from her strong demeanor, the primary reason for suspicion is the fact that Bland, 28, was just about to start a new job at her alma mater, Texas A&M University.
Last week, a bail bondsman also revealed Bland spoke to him over the phone about being bailed out shortly before her death.
There are too many questions that need to be resolved. Ms. Bland's family does make valid points. She did have a lot of things going on in her life for good.
Bland was pulled over in Waller County, Texas on July 10 after failing to signal when changing lanes.
A physical confrontation ensued between her and the officer because Bland refused to put out her cigarette.
Cannon Lambert, a lawyer for the Bland family, claims the officer was the first to become aggressive, but Mathis said Bland had also been "very combative" before she was arrested for assaulting a public servant.
On July 13, Bland dismissed a breakfast tray at around 6:30 am and told a prison worker, "I'm fine," at a little after 7 am, The New York Times reports.
About two hours later, Bland was found dead in her cell.
She allegedly hung herself with a plastic bag she obtained from her waste bin.
Bland posted a video on Facebook last March saying she had depression and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), but her family and at least one friend deny the validity of this self-diagnosis.
The chief of investigations for the Waller County sheriff's office, Captain Brian Cantrell, said Bland was found to have no issues with her mental or physical health when she was jailed.
The Washington Post reports Mathis requested Bland's cell be tested for DNA and fingerprints to determine the likelihood of foul play.
Citations: Blands Death Being Treated Like Murder Investigation (The Texas Tribune), New Details Released in Sandra Blands Death in Texas Jail (The New York Times), Jail death investigated as thoroughly as murder (The Washington PostThe suicide seems increasingly unlikely)