Newly released material has shed more light on what Sandra Bland felt in the while she sat for three days in a Texas jail before dying July 13. Local authorities claimed the 28-year-old committed suicide by hanging herself with a trash bag in her cell at Waller County Jail. On Wednesday, officials made public jail documents allegedly filled out by Bland that revealed contradicting answers about her history with depression, mental illness, and an attempted suicide. Also surfacing Wednesday was audio of Bland's voicemail from jail to a friend, and in it, the woman sounded tired and worried about being in police custody.
The main issue at stake is whether or not Bland died by suicide, as what was initially reported by the Harris County medical examiner. Bland's family has insisted she would not have killed herself given she was excited about a new teaching job at her alma mater, Prairie View A&M University. In a Wednesday press conference, Bland's sister Sharon Cooper told reporters she and her family were "infuriated" over what they saw as an unjust arrest.
The jail voicemail offers a rare glimpse into what Bland felt following her arrest. The call appears to have happened on Friday after she was arraigned and held on $5,000 bail. The less-than-a-minute audio clip revealed a shocked Bland who couldn't believe how quickly her routine traffic stop escalated into something more.
Hey, this is me. I'm- I was just able to see the judge. I don't really know. They got me held at a $5,000 bond. I'm- I'm still just at a loss for words honestly about this whole process. How this switching lanes with no signal turned into all of this, I don't even know. But I'm still here. So, I guess call me back when you can. Bye.
Bland's uncertainty and concern over her situation could honestly fall on either side of the argument. Police could say Bland sounded depressed after her arrest. Her family could argue the voicemail indicated Bland consciously reached out for help from the outside.
For now, what we do know is that Bland was arrested July 10 after a traffic stop went south. Dash cam video of her arrest released earlier this week showed a tense confrontation with officer Brian Encinia, during which he threatened to "light her up" with his Taser. Encinia has since been suspended pending the investigation. The case is currently being treated as a murder investigation, officials said. There's also another investigation into Encinia's conduct during the arrest.