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What Really Happened To Sandra Bland?
Sandra Bland was arrested in Prairie View, Texas on July 10, 2015 when a simple traffic stop over a failure to signal a lane change turned into a major incident resulting in her being taken into police custody. Three days later on July 13 she was found dead in her jail cell the apparent victim of hanging. It was initially determined that Miss. Bland hanged herself which was later confirmed by the local coroner's autopsy report. But is that what really happened?
Friday July 10
After Sandra Bland was taken into custody at the scene she was transported to the Waller County Jail where she was issued county inmate clothing, fingerprinted, photographed and assigned a jail cell. That evening she made at least one phone call to a local friend who she was staying with and left a voice mail on his cell phone telling him of her situation. It is believed she also called at least one family member in Illinois to inform them of her dilemma as well. As far as it is known she spent Friday night in the jail without incident. In accordance with Waller County Jail procedure due to the nature of her offense Miss Bland was placed in a cell by herself.
Saturday July 11
On Saturday Sandra Bland had a bail hearing before a judge who set her bail amount and informed her of her responsibilities concerning being released on bail. After that hearing it is known that Sandra spoke to at least one of her sisters who said that she would work on getting her out on bond. According to the sister they spoke sometime Saturday afternoon. It is believed that Sandra made several other phone calls on Saturday in an effort to secure the money she needed to post bond. One of those phone calls was to a local bail bondsman who in turn called her family in Illinois. It is unclear what became of that interaction but it did not result in her being able to post her bond amount which was $500.
Sandra Bland's Mother And Sister
Sunday July 12
It is not totally clear what happened on Sunday. It is very likely Sandra Bland attempted to make more phone calls to try to bail out of jail. One thing we know was occurring: Sandra Bland was crying a lot. We know this because a woman who was in the cell across the hallway from Bland could hear her and had been hearing her since she had been in jail. On a couple of occasions they talked through the small windows in their cell doors and Sandra expressed to her the frustration she had not being able to reach anyone she called and not hearing back from them. In one of those conversations Sandra told her "I am not built for this life" apparently meaning she was having a hard time dealing with jail life. We also know she was not eating her food and in fact refused breakfast the next day.
Sandra Bland's Jail Cell
Monday July 13
At about 6:30 a.m. breakfast at the jail was served which Sandra Bland refused. At about 7 a.m. a jail officer went to Sandra's cell to look in on her. At that time Bland said she was "okay." At approximately 8 a.m. via intercom Bland asked the front desk about how to make a phone call from a pay phone in her cell but records show she never made a call. At 9 a.m. when a female guard goes to Bland's cell to look in on her she sees Bland hanging from the bathroom partition in her jail cell and immediately runs to get help. EMS personnel get to Sandra's cell at about 9:13 a.m. and she is pronounced dead at 9:16 a.m. leaving the world to ask "What really happened to Sandra Bland?"
Sandra Bland Makeshift Memorial In Prairie View, Texas
No one knows exactly what happened to Sandra Bland except her and possibly the one(s) who may have harmed her but there are some reasonable conclusions that can be made. Sandra Bland was alone sitting in a jail cell nearly 1,100 miles from home facing serious charges of assaulting a police officer. It was very likely that she was going to lose the job that she had just landed due to her arrest and the charges that she was facing. It is a pretty fair assumption that the university would not want itself associated with her because of this incident. At the time of this incident Sandra Bland owed more than $7,500 in court fines from previous traffic stops and encounters with police and if those fines were not paid her drivers license would have been revoked. By her own admission on Facebook she had suffered from depression in the past and this incident certainly could serve as a trigger for another depressive episode. Her family and friends were not communicating with her which undoubtedly could have made her feel isolated and abandoned. She was not eating according to jail personnel and she was crying continuously according to another inmate. I think there is very little doubt that she was distraught, depressed and very likely suicidal. Considering everything that she was facing it is a strong possibility that she felt overwhelmed, abandoned and hopeless causing her to feel she couldn't go on.
On the morning she was found unconscious in her cell she had refused breakfast which was probably the final sign she had given up. She asked about making a phone call that she never made......a call that she may have intended to be her last cry for help but decided against it. An hour later she was found unresponsive in her cell an apparent victim of her own hands.
No one should go to jail for a simple traffic violation and they certainly should not end up dead. This is a tragic and unnecessary death. Many blame the police officer who arrested her. Some blame the sheriff and deputies at the jail. Others blame Sandra Bland herself. But truthfully there is enough blame to be shared by all........all those who ignored Sandra's obvious and various cries for help.
And that includes all parties involved.