Despite claims that Sandra Bland committed suicide in a Texas jail cell following a violent arrest after a traffic stop, a Waller County prosecutor said an investigation into her death is being handled “like a murder investigation,” according to ABC News.
“This is being treated like a murder investigation,” Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis told the television news station Monday evening. “I want fingerprints run. I want…DNA tests run on the trash bag.”
The statement comes after Bland’s relatives called for an independent autopsy, raising questions and outrage over her manner of death. Bland, 28, a Black Lives Matter activist, was arrested July 10 by a state trooper in Prairie View, Texas after a traffic stop and died three days later in her cell. An initial autopsy found that she died after using a plastic trash bag to hang herself from a partition in her cell.
Mathis has also called for “any other valid scientific testing that we have so we can say with certainty what happened in her cell. There are too many questions that still need to be resolved,” he told the news station.
Capt. Brian Cantrell of the Waller County Sheriff’s Office on Monday gave a more detailed account of what happened after Bland’s arrest as their department released three hours of footage from inside the jail.
Cantrell said that Bland was taken to Waller County Jail after refusing medical attention on the scene after a confrontation with police.
There, she was placed in a cell alone because she was deemed a “high risk” inmate to the safety of others based on the nature of the charge against her, Cantrell said.
Dash cam footage released Monday shows the trooper dragging Bland from her car and chastising her for smoking in her vehicle, the report says.
Cannon Lambert, the lawyer representing Bland’s family, told NBC News that the state trooper “looked to force her to get out of the car by way of opening the door and started demanding that she do.”
“We want to understand what happened, we want to know what happened and we want to know why,” Lambert said.
Watch Roland Martin, Criminal Defense Attorney Yodit Tewolde and the NewsOne Now panel discuss the latest developments in the Sandra Bland death in custody investigation in the video clip below.