Sandra Bland’s Suspicious Jail Cell Death Seems Hard to Believe

by Alexa Salvato

On July 10, Sandra Bland, driving to a new job at a Texas university, was pulled over for failing to use her blinker when changing lanes. The Root reports: “Police claim that during the stop she became combative, was thrown to the ground, arrested and charged with ‘assault on a public servant.’” On July 13, she was found dead in her jail cell. Police deemed it “self-inflicted asphyxiation,” and a coroner ruled it a suicide. However, those close to Bland, and the black activist community at large, are suspicious of these claims.

In this video recorded by a bystander, Bland does not appear to be acting violently. She thanks the person taking the video, who the police tell to leave.


News outlets around the country are questioning Bland’s arrest and apparent suicide in the wake of so many other instances of police violence against people of color. #ALLBlackLivesMatter in this movement; women like Bland cannot be forgotten.

But those who knew Bland well are the most suspicious of the incident. Bland was 28 and starting a new, exciting job at her alma mater. She was also passionate about civil rights and spoke about racist police violence. For these and other reasons, friends of Bland contacted Chicago station ABC 7 expressing disbelief that she would have committed suicide.

“I do suspect foul play,” Cheryl Nanton told ABC 7. “I believe that we are all 100 percent in belief that she did not do harm to herself.”

Another friend, LiNitra Dean, agreed. “The Waller County Jail is trying to rule her death a suicide and Sandy would not have taken her own life. Sandy was strong. Strong mentally and spiritually.”

According to the Facebook page of Bluestockings, an NYC bookstore and activist center, there will be a demonstration in Bland’s honor on July 17 at Columbus Circle at 5:30 p.m. This demonstration will follow another #SayHerName vigil earlier this summer; the hashtag is used to highlight the stories of specifically black women affected by racially motivated police violence. The hashtag #JusticeForSandy is also trending in her memory.


Image via Facebook/The Root

Video via Shazzam1294 on YouTube 


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