The improbable jailhouse death of 28-year-old Sandra Bland, who was put behind bars over a traffic infraction and found dead in her cell three days later, has gotten even murkier with the reported testimony of a guard who now admits he falsified records of her time in jail.
Bland was pulled over last July for failing to signal a lane change. The encounter, caught on dash cam, escalated quickly and she was ultimately arrested for “assault of a public servant” for allegedly kicking the officer. Three days later, she was found dead in a Waller County jail cell.
The Waller County Sheriff’s Office claimed Bland had died of self-induced asphyxiation, apparently by using a plastic bag, and an autopsy performed by the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences ruled her death a suicide. A grand jury ultimately declined to indict anyone in connection with her death.
But Bland, who had just moved to the area to start a new job at Prairie View A&M, had never displayed suicidal tendencies before, her family says.
And there were some major discrepancies from the start. The officer who arrested Bland was ultimately charged with perjury and fired from the department after state investigators determined he had lied about what happened during the traffic stop.
And now, an attorney for Bland’s mother, Geneva Reed-Veal, tells the Houston Chronicle one of the guards who was tasked with watching Bland in jail recently admitted under oath that he lied about checking on her an hour before she was found dead. Though a source tells the Chronicle that special prosecutors were aware of the falsified records when the grand jury was convened, an attorney for Waller County tells the paper the guard’s admission was “a small portion of that testimony,” and taken out of context.
Reed-Veal is currently pursuing a federal lawsuit alleging that her daughter’s death was the result of willful and wanton negligence on the part of the county.