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On Oct. 7, in Huntsville, Alabama, 29-year-old Christina Nance was found dead inside a Huntsville Police Department van. Just over a week later, there still appear to be more questions than answers as to why she was in the van, how long she had been there before she was discovered and how she died. Police are now claiming, however, that they know how she got into the van—they said she got in on her own, and they have the surveillance footage to prove it.

On Thursday, Huntsville Police Chief Mark McMurray told News 19 the department tracked down footage from a nearby building’s security camera that showed Nance “somewhat disoriented” and “alone” getting into the van.

McMurray wouldn’t say when the video footage was dated, but he did say Nance had been dead for days before she was found—without specifying how many days.

In a case that is naturally giving Black people major Freddie Gray vibes, it just seems like being vague and less than transparent with the revealing of information just isn’t the move, which is likely why Nance’s family is growing impatient.

Nance’s sister, Latausha Nance, told News 19 that she had previously asked the Huntsville Police Department (HPD) to see surveillance footage and was told by the department that their cameras might not go back that far. But McMurray says now that the footage the department has obtained will be shown to the family Friday before it’s turned over to the media for everyone to see.

At any rate, the family now has famed civil attorney Ben Crump on their side. In a statement, Crump pledged that “we will get to the truth of what happened to Christina Nance.”

But getting to the truth remains looking more and more like an uphill battle as the coroner still hasn’t determined a cause of Nance’s death but has already ruled out foul play.

As for the van itself: “The van was purchased in 1995 and was used to transport inmates. A spokesperson for HPD says when the Madison County Sheriff’s Office took over all detention services in the early 2000s the van was repurposed. The van was last used in March 2021, to transport evidence approved for destruction from cleared cases,” News 19 reported.

The fact is, Black people have, for a long time now, been at a place where any connection between a Black person’s death and police is enough to raise eyebrows and red flags. The suspense built up before the revealing of information isn’t just frustrating, it serves to exacerbate the distrust that’s already cemented in Black people when it comes to the inner workings of law enforcement.

But, we’ll see.


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Ma'Khia Bryant
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