Sandra Bland’s Family Says Texas Authorities Are Not Cooperating With Them, Have Not Returned Her Personal Items

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According to news reports, the family of Sandra Bland is still battling Texas authorities and trying to find out more details of her death. The Bland family says they are concerned that police have released reports filled with discrepancies and failed to produce jail video of her hanging.

Bland was an Illinois woman headed to a job interview in Texas when she was arrested by a Texas state trooper for an illegal lane change. Trooper Brian Encinia violently dragged her from her vehicle, and she was later found dead in her jail cell from an alleged suicide. The traffic stop, captured on dash cam, raised international awareness about the problem of police violence and the frequent occurrence of Black men and women dying in custody.

The Huffington Post reports that on Thursday Geneva Reed-Veal, Bland’s mother, took her fight to federal court to demand more access to police records. Reed-Veal wants access to a Texas Ranger’s report on her daughter’s death and an unedited jail video of activity outside her cell.

Bland’s mother is also suing Encinia, who has been charged with perjury, and 13 other Waller County jail staffers.

According to attorney Cannon Lambert, the Bland family does not believe the medical examiner’s report which ruled her death a suicide.

“The family doesn’t know what to believe,” Lambert told Huff Post. “They’ve been told certain things that haven’t borne out to be true. All of this has built an inability for her to feel comfortable or confident in what they say.”

Sandra Bland, left, with her mother Geneva Reed-Veal, on a road trip just days before Bland’s death.
Sandra Bland, left, with her mother Geneva Reed-Veal, on a road trip just days before Bland’s death.

Reed-Veal is also demanding Texas authorities return her daughter’s personal effects, which they have yet to do.

“As Sandra Bland’s mother, I know a little bit about frustration; you have to stand and push through it,” said Reed-Veal during a campaign appearance with Hillary Clinton.

According to Huff Post, Reed-Veal’s lawsuit has managed to extract more information about her daughter’s death. Waller County jail investigator Marc Langdon’s report said Bland was still alive when she was removed from her makeshift noose, made from a trash bag. But a paramedic declared her dead at 9.06 a.m. However, the autopsy report said the noose was removed at 12:14 p.m.

The Texas Commission on Jail Standards also found several problems with the jail staff’s performance during Bland’s incarceration. The commission said jail staff failed to perform hourly face-to-face checks and had also not received adequate training on how to handle prisoners with mental problems.

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