Following the mysterious death of 28-year-old Sandra Bland at Waller County Jail in Hempstead, Texas, Bland's family was quick to speak out against what some believe is yet another case of fatal, racially motivated police brutality. On Wednesday, a lawyer representing the Bland family described Sandra's death as "totally avoidable." As for her alleged depression and suicidal inclinations, he emphasized that Sandra had been excited to move to Texas and start a new job at her alma mater. Bland's family has responded to Sandra Bland's death and alleged depression and suicide by insisting there was no evidence she had ever attempted suicide or had been experiencing depression at the time.
After authorities released new documents that allegedly showed Bland indicated she previously experienced depression and had attempted suicide once before, Bland's sister Sharon Cooper told CNN, "I'm infuriated and everybody else should be infuriated." Cooper expressed that she had difficulty believing her sister took her own life and further stated, "I have a hard time dealing with inconsistency and that seems to have been the theme over the last couple of days here." Cooper was referring to forms allegedly filled out by Bland in which she answered "yes" to some questions regarding depression and suicide attempts, while answering "no" to other questions concerning mental illness.
As for the nature of her sister's arrest, Cooper referenced dash cam footage released earlier this week that showed Bland's stop and arrest. Cooper said it appeared her sister had been arrested not because the police officer had felt threatened, but simply because his "ego was bruised," stating:
I'm disgusted we even have a discussion about an autopsy because she was pulled over for something so insignificant and because of an officer who felt like maybe his ego was bruised. If you tell me you're going to light me up, I won't get out of the car."
Bland's other sister, Shante Needham, who received calls from Bland in jail, responded to the video as well. "She was very aggravated," Needham said. "She seemed to be in pain."
CNN reported that the Bland family said the video "has raised even more questions over whether Bland should have been arrested at all." However, the family will, for the most part, be withholding comment until after Bland's burial this weekend. Her mother Geneva Reed-Veal recounted how her daughter had told her, "'Mom, now I know what my purpose is. My purpose is to go back to Texas, my purpose is to stop all social injustice'" prior to moving to Texas to take a teaching post at Prairie View A&M University.
Although Bland's family wishes to be removed from the spotlight for the moment, Cooper thanked the public for vocally rallying to support her family and urged them to "Please keep Tweeting, keep Facebooking, keep Instagramming" her sister's name. "To know Sandy was to love her. She was someone who was extremely spontaneous, spunky, outgoing, truly filled with life and joy. So when you think through the circumstances shared with us through this point, this is unimaginable."
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