WALLER COUNTY, Texas — A civil rights activist associated with the “Black Lives Matter” movement was found dead Monday morning in her jail cell. Police claim the cause of death was “self inflicted asphyxiation,” but friends, family, and activists are skeptical of the report.
Sandra Bland, 28, was discovered dead at approximately 9 a.m. after being taken to jail following charges of assault on a public servant. Little other details have been released about Bland’s death, including how she was able to self asphyxiate.
While officials in Waller County maintain the story that Bland committed suicide, the Texas State Rangers have launched an investigation into Bland’s death.
Bland’s friends say she was not suicidal.
“I do suspect foul play,” said Cheryl Nanton to a local ABC affiliate. “I believe that we are all 100 percent in belief that she did not do harm to herself.”
“We’re very suspicious, and we’re a very tight community, and we’re very upset that this has happened, and it seems like there’s nothing really being done about it,” said LaVaughn Mosley.
Police claim that Bland was originally placed in jail for assaulting a police officer, who has not been named. In a video of the arrest, captured by a bystander, Bland can be heard saying, “You just slammed my head into the ground! Do you not even care about that? I can’t even hear!” At one point, an officer is heard commanding the bystander recording the video to leave.
Video of the arrest is available below:
The video does not show what happened prior to Bland being placed in handcuffs, but a witness says the police officer pulled Bland from her car and threw her down on the ground, corroborating Bland’s own statements in the video.