New Footage Of Sandra Bland In Jail Released To Dispel Online Rumors

Photo: Waller County Sheriff's Department/AP Photo.
Waller County, TX, officials released hours of video on Tuesday of 28-year-old Sandra Bland alive and seemingly healthy in her jail cell. The footage was meant to dispel a disturbing round of internet speculations that Bland was killed by police and was already dead in her mugshot. "The reason we're [releasing this video] 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," judge Trey Duhon told reporters yesterday, adding that he wishes authorities had released the video earlier to quell the rumors. Last week, theories flooded Twitter, bringing forth “evidence,” such as that her mugshot background was the floor of her cell, to argue that Bland had already died before her reported suicide. But the recently released video shows Bland changing into an orange jumpsuit and, indeed, having her mugshot taken. Sandra Bland was found dead in her cell on July 13, three days after being arrested for allegedly assaulting an officer after she was pulled over for failing to use her turn signal. The case has garnered international attention, with many protesting her alleged mistreatment by authorities. At a press conference last Thursday, officials said they confirmed the death as a suicide by hanging with a plastic bag. Bland's family and others have questioned that account, pointing out that Bland was excited about starting a new job and had no reason to take her own life. Duhon noted that some individuals have made death threats against Waller County officials, and that one group has even launched a cyber attack. "We are under cyber attack by individuals like the group called Anonymous, who has claimed that Sandra Bland is deceased in the mugshot," Duhon said. The persistence of allegations of foul play — even if they're unfounded — shines a light the public’s distrust of authorities after a recent spate of highly publicized killings perpetrated by police. Reporting for BuzzFeed News on the death Ralkina Jones, who died in custody in Ohio, Mike Hayes notes that Jones' death makes at least three women of color who've died under "questionable circumstances" while in police custody in the last two weeks alone. An 18-year-old woman named Kindra Chapman died in Alabama the day after Bland. The video was released to reporters on hard disks and will be uploaded to YouTube. We'll add it when it's available.

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