In an effort of transparency, the Waller County, Texas, jail where Sandra Bland died in her cell released a video late on Monday, revealing snippets of the final hours of the 28-year-old's life. The surveillance footage captures the activity outside of Bland's cell, including the on-duty guards checking on Bland throughout the morning, and paramedics rushing to the cell when her lifeless body was found. Bland's death, occurring just three days after she was arrested during a routine traffic stop, was ruled a suicide by a medical examiner, but her family and supporters are still not convinced.
You can't see Bland or even her cell door in the video, which is taken from down the hall of her cell at the Houston-area jail. All you can see are the guards who periodically check up on Bland, including one officer who pauses outside her cell for several seconds. At this point, investigators have said Bland told the officer, "I'm fine."
About 90 minutes later, a female officer goes down the hall to check on Bland. The female officer bends down, then quickly stands up and signals to her colleagues. That's when paramedics come rushing in with a gurney and supplies.
According to Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis, Bland was found hanging from the cell's privacy partition. Although her death was ruled a suicide by hanging, and Bland was reportedly found with a plastic bag around her neck, Mathis said at a news conference Monday that it's "too early to make any kind of determination that this was a suicide or a murder because the investigations are not complete."
Here's a clip of the video from the moment a guard found Bland's body, via the Daily Mail. This clip is zoomed in on Bland's cell.
The Associated Press also has clips of the video. It's important to note that there was no movement outside Bland's jail cell between the time the first guard checked on her and Bland said she was "fine," and when her body was found.
Authorities are expected to release the full dashcam video from Bland's traffic stop and ensuing arrest on July 10. The lawyer for the Bland family told NBC News on Monday that the dashcam video shows how the traffic stop escalated after Bland allegedly refused to put out her cigarette at the officer's request. The family's lawyer, Cannon Lambert, told NBC News that Bland "wasn't comfortable getting out of the car" when the officer ordered her to get out. That's when the officer forced Bland out of the car by opening the driver-side door, Lambert said.
The Texas Rangers and FBI are currently investigating Bland's death. Mathis, the Waller County District Attorney, said on Monday that this case will go to a grand jury. Prosecutors have also ordered extensive fingerprint and DNA testing, and are treating the probe as a criminal investigation.
Image: KHOU TV