What We Know About the Controversy in Sandra Bland's Death

CNN/Stylemagazine.com Newswire | 7/23/2015, 5:07 p.m. | Updated on 7/23/2015, 5:07 p.m.
The dashcam video reveals how a Texas state trooper initially pulled Sandra Bland over for allegedly failing to use her ...
Sandra Bland

Newly released video showing the arrest of a woman who later died in police custody has added fuel to the fire over the controversy surrounding her death.

The dashcam video reveals how a Texas state trooper initially pulled Sandra Bland over for allegedly failing to use her turn signal and how the situation then escalated.

While Bland's jailhouse death is being handled in the manner of a murder investigation, authorities in Texas initially said the 28-year-old woman appeared to have killed herself.

But why would a young woman who just landed a new job at her alma mater take her own life?

Here's what we know about Bland's death at the Waller County jail in Hempstead and the events leading up to it:

Why did the officer stop and later arrest her?

Bland was arrested on July 10 and accused of assaulting an officer after a traffic stop, police said. A trooper pulled her over for allegedly failing to signal a lane change.

During the stop, Bland became "argumentative and uncooperative," according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Authorities on Tuesday released dashcam video of the July 10 traffic stop, revealing new details about a case that has captured national attention.

An attorney for her family, Cannon Lambert, told CNN that the officer asked Bland to get out of her car after she refused to put out her cigarette. The officer opened the driver's side door and asked Bland to get out, he said.

The video shows the Texas trooper threaten Bland with a Taser and say: "I will light you up!"

Cell phone video purporting to show part of Bland's arrest was posted online. CNN could not verify the video was of Bland's arrest, but Lambert said there was "little reason to believe that it's not her."

The video shows an officer using his knee to hold a woman down on the ground. The woman is heard saying that she can't "feel my arm" and that the trooper "slammed my f------ head to the ground."

"Do you not even care about that?" she asked.

Sharon Cooper, one of Bland's sisters, told CNN that preliminary autopsy results showed her sibling suffered "deep tissue bruising to her back" consistent with someone pushing a knee into her back.

Waller County paramedics were called to the scene of her arrest, but Bland refused a medical evaluation before she was booked, according to the Public Safety Department.

Asked about reports that Bland kicked the trooper before her arrest, Lambert said: "It's not characteristic that she would voluntarily and without any sort of provocation strike out at someone."

How did Bland end up dead in her cell?

Bland was found dead in a Waller County jail cell on July 13 after she hanged herself with a plastic trash bag, authorities said.

Bland was found "in her cell not breathing from what appears to be self-inflicted asphyxiation," a Sheriff's Office statement said. Bland received CPR, and an ambulance was called, but she was pronounced dead a short time later.

Bland apparently refused a breakfast tray about 6:30 that Monday morning, according to the Sheriff's Office.

When a guard checked on the prisoner a half-hour later, Bland reportedly said, "I'm fine," according to the Sheriff's Office.

At 8 a.m., Bland apparently asked to make a phone call from her cell, the Sheriff's Office said. There is no record of her making a call.

Bland was found at 9 a.m., hanging in her cell, according to the Sheriff's Office.

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