Sandra Bland told cops she ‘tried to kill herself a year ago after losing a child’

Sandra Bland tried to kill herself a year ago after losing a baby, it has been revealed, as authorities fight to clear themselves from allegations of doctoring footage of her controversial arrest.

Bland, who was found hanged in a Texas jail cell earlier this month, has been at the center of controversy since family and supporters have accused authorities of engineering her death.

Law enforcement sources reportedly revealed that Bland, 28, had told police about the suicide attempt while being booked into jail on July 10, three days before her death.

The officials told local politicians that Bland explained her suicide was linked to losing a baby, though there were no details on precisely what happened. Bland had previously discussed her suicidal thoughts online.

State representative Sylvester Turner told the Houston Chronicle about the claims, which he and several other politicians were told about in a recent meeting.

He said that Bland filled out a form on entering the jail which asked about suicides. Though she admitted to the past attempt, she said that she was not currently feeling suicidal, Turner said.

He added that the disclosure ought to have raised red flags and led to Bland being monitored more closely in jail.

It comes as Texas’s department of public safety re-released dashcam footage of her controversial arrest after claims they had doctored it.

A version posted on Tuesday skipped in parts and had audio apparently out of sync with the imagery.

According to police officials, the repeated segment was due to an computer error when they published the footage online. A second version was released which did not feature the discrepancy.

Reacting to the footage, as well as video from a bystander who filmed the violent arrest, Bland’s sister hit out at the arresting officer, whom she said was ‘picking on her’.

Sharon Cooper characterized state trooper Brian Encinia, who tackled Bland to the ground, as ‘an officer who felt like maybe his ego was bruised’.

She said: ‘I simply feel like the officer was picking on her’, according to CBS News.

Officials have said Bland was arrested after she kicked an officer in a heated roadside exchange after Encinia pulled her over for a minor traffic offense.

The Chicago-area black woman’s death at the Waller County jail in Hempstead, about 60 miles northwest of Houston, comes amid increased national scrutiny of police after a series of high-profile cases in which blacks have been killed by officers. The FBI and the Texas Rangers are investigating.

Bland’s death been ruled a suicide by the Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office, a finding that supporters and relatives dispute.

Bland’s family and others have called for a Justice Department probe and an independent autopsy.

‘This was not a case of suicide, but homicide,’ Rev. Jamal Bryant, of the Empowerment Temple AME Church of Baltimore, said earlier Monday. He said he was in Hempstead at the Bland family’s request.

DPS has said the trooper who stopped Bland violated traffic stop procedures and the department’s courtesy policy, but hasn’t elaborated further. The trooper is on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation.

‘Sandra Bland was very combative,’ the district attorney said. ‘It was not a model traffic stop… and it was not a model person that was stopped on a traffic stop. I think the public can make its own determinations as to the behaviors that are seen in the video.’

Earlier this week video was released from the corridor outside Bland’s cell, which shows nothing happening for the 90-minute period during which she died, until an officer goes to check on her.

It shows a deputy reacting to what she sees while looking in the cell, triggering a frenzy of activity involving other deputies.

An EMT crew arrives with a wheeled stretcher. The video does not show the inside of her cell or even her cell door. Deputies and medical personnel are seen coming and going, but a body isn’t visible.

Capt. Brian Cantrell, head of the sheriff’s department criminal investigation division, said the video was motion sensitive, indicating if nothing is taking place after a certain amount of time, it turns off.

He said the FBI has been given hard drives to determine if there’s been any manipulation.

Cantrell said a guard checked with Bland about two hours before she was found dead and Bland told her, ‘I’m fine’.

About an hour later, she asked to make a telephone call from her cell and was advised the phone was on a wall in the cell, according to Cantrell.

There is no record of her ever making a phone call, he said.

Cantrell declined to describe Bland’s death in detail. He described the plastic garbage bag used as a ligature by extending his hands about five feet apart.

The bags, he said, had been approved by a jail inspector, but have since been removed from all cells.

Relatives and friends have insisted she was upbeat and looking forward to a new job at Prairie View A&M University, the school where she graduated in 2009. She was in the area to interview for the job and accepted it.

The FBI, which is heading the investigation of her death, was examining her phone to try to match the video to the dashcam video, he said.

Source: The DailyMail

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