The Latest: Agency says trooper erred in stopping Bland

AP News
Posted: Jul 17, 2015 7:28 PM
The Latest: Agency says trooper erred in stopping Bland

HEMPSTEAD, Texas (AP) — The latest on the investigation into the death of a black woman who authorities say hanged herself in a Texas jail cell (all times are local):

6:15 p.m.

A state trooper who stopped a woman authorities say later hanged herself in a Texas jail cell had violated traffic stop procedures and the agency's courtesy policy.

The Department of Public Safety said in a statement Friday that the trooper has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation by the FBI and Texas Rangers.

Sandra Bland was arrested on July 10 in Prairie View following a traffic stop. She was found dead Monday.

Department spokesman Tom Vinger says it is "still being determined" what procedures the trooper violated.

According to the statement, the department and the Waller County district attorney have requested that the FBI conduct a forensic analysis on video footage from the incident.


5:20 p.m.

A prosecutor says no cameras were in the Texas jail cell where a woman was found dead.

Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said late Friday at a news conference there may be privacy issues that kept authorities from continuous video monitoring of Sandra Bland at the Waller County Jail. He believes she was the only female prisoner in the jail at the time.

Authorities say the Illinois woman hanged herself in the lockup. Her relatives and supporters dispute the finding.

Mathis says videos from cameras monitoring the hall outside her cell show no one entered or left it between the time she last spoke with deputies through an intercom system and when her body was discovered.

The prosecutor says the videos are part of the investigation and won't immediately be released. He also says authorities are looking into an online video where Bland spoke earlier this year of being depressed.

Bland was arrested on July 10 in Prairie View following a traffic stop. She was found dead Monday.

Mathis says there are multiple investigations involving the traffic stop by a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper.


4:10 p.m.

A state agency investigating a Texas jail where authorities say a woman hanged herself in her cell has cited the facility for not properly monitoring inmates.

The Texas Commission on Jail Standards wouldn't say whether Thursday's citation is related to the death of 28-year-old Sandra Bland. Authorities say Bland hanged herself Monday in her Waller County jail cell, but her family and friends don't think she would have taken her own life.

Commission Executive Director Brandon Wood told The Associated Press on Friday that all inmates must be observed once every 60 minutes, and any inmate deemed suicidal must be observed in person every 30 minutes. He declined to say specifically how the jail failed to meet standards or release the citation. He also declined to comment on Bland's case.

Waller County Sheriff Glenn Smith said Thursday that jailers used an intercom to check on Bland less than an hour before she was found dead.


4 p.m.

A former classmate of Sandra Bland refuses to believe she killed herself in a Texas jail cell.

Lanitra (Luh-NEE'-truh) Dean of Houston shared a spot in the school band with Bland at Prairie View A&M University. She says while she had not seen Bland for more than five years, they had kept in touch through social media.

Dean was among about 100 people who on Friday marched from the Waller County jail in Hempstead to the county courthouse about a half a mile away. The 28-year-old Bland was found dead at the jail Monday.

Despite an online post earlier this year in which Bland mentioned being depressed, Dean says Bland would not kill herself because she was about to be released from jail on bond.

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Dean says she's speaking out because Bland would do that for her.


3 p.m.

A close friend and mentor of a woman who authorities say hanged herself in a Texas jail cell says a social media posting where she talks about being depressed is a "self-diagnosis" and should be "taken with a grain of salt."

LaVaughn Mosley says he was "unaware of any struggles with depression" and that Sandra Bland was "making plans for the future."

The 28-year-old Bland was from Naperville, Illinois, but was returning to her alma mater Prairie View A&M University in Texas to begin a community outreach job. She drove through the night from Chicago for a July 9 interview and dropped her bags off at Mosley's place in Prairie View.

She got the job and returned the next day to fill out paperwork. On her way back she was stopped by police for failing to signal a lane change.

Authorities say the stop became confrontational and that Bland was arrested after kicking an officer.

She was found dead in a Waller County jail cell Monday.


1 p.m.

More than 100 protesters marched from the jail in the small Texas town of Hempstead to the courthouse following the death of a black woman who authorities say hanged herself in her jail cell.

The march led by Houston activist Quanell X covered about half a mile. Demonstrators shouted "No justice, no peace!" and "We demand answers!" Many carried signs.

Sandra Bland was arrested on July 10 in Prairie View following a traffic stop. Authorities say the 28-year-old hanged herself Monday morning in a Waller County jail cell in Hempstead, about 60 miles northwest of Houston.

Family and friends say she gave no indication she was in such an emotional state that she would kill herself.