Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Womans Jail Death Video Out

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Womans Jail Death Video Out

Article excerpt

HEMPSTEAD, Texas - Texas authorities on Monday released a three- hour video taken from outside a jail cell where an Illinois woman arrested during a traffic stop was found dead. The video from a motion-operated camera shows there was no activity for 90 minutes in the hallway leading to the cell where authorities say 28-year-old Sandra Bland was found hanged on July 13, three days after her arrest.

Authorities also said dashcam video of Bland's arrest is expected to be released Tuesday. Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said Monday the video is consistent with information the officer has provided about the traffic stop. The Texas Department of Public Safety has said Bland was arrested after she allegedly kicked an officer.

But Mathis cautioned that the dashcam video shows only restricted views of the stop in Prairie View, Texas.

The Chicago-area black woman's death at the Waller County jail in Hempstead, about 60 miles northwest of Houston, comes amid increased national scrutiny of police after a series of high-profile cases in which blacks have been killed by officers. The FBI and the Texas Rangers are investigating.

"This investigation is still being treated just as it would be a murder investigation, Mathis said.

Bland's death been ruled a suicide by the Harris County Medical Examiner's Office, a finding that supporters and relatives dispute. Bland's family and others have called for a Justice Department probe and an independent autopsy.

"This was not a case of suicide, but homicide, Rev. Jamal Bryant, of the Empowerment Temple AME Church of Baltimore, said earlier Monday. He said he was in Hempstead at the Bland family's request.

DPS has said the trooper who stopped Bland violated traffic stop procedures and the department's courtesy policy, but hasn't elaborated further. The trooper is on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation.

Bland may have been trying to text or email in the moments after she was pulled over for an improper lane change, Mathis said Monday.

"Sandra Bland was very combative, the district attorney said. "It was not a model traffic stop . …

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