Sandra Bland’s autopsy results have been released. Sandra Bland, 28, died while in police custody after being pulled over for a routine traffic stop in Waller County, Texas. She was pulled over on July 10 near Prairie View, Texas, for making a lane change. She was found dead, with a plastic trash bag around her neck, in her jail cell on July 13. Here’s what we know so far.
1. The Autopsy Results Were Consistent with Suicide, Not Homicide, Officials Said
At a press conference describing the results of the autopsy, Waller County officials said that the results of the autopsy were consistent with suicide, not a violent murder, NBC DFW reported. Signs of a violent homicide would have included bite marks or scratches or abrasions indicating a struggle, officials said at the press conference. The autopsy only showed “uniform and consistent” ligature marks on her neck that seem to confirm suicide, NBC DFW reported.
The death was ruled suicide by hanging, according to The Houston Chronicle. However, the Chronicle also reported that Waller County Judge Trey Duhon was still investigating the death as a homicide, in order to get as much evidence as they can.
2. She Had Large Amounts of Marijuana in Her System
An initial toxicology test showed marijuana in Bland’s system. Although the toxicology report is not yet complete, initial results indicate that Bland either swallowed a large amount of marijuana or was smoking marijuana in jail, according to a Reuters report about a text message sent from the Waller County District Attorney to a lawyer representing Bland’s family. Officials want to do further tests to clarify these results. Initial reports to the media incorrectly stated that officials wanted to do a second autopsy. Instead, they want the body preserved so they can do more tests regarding the marijuana in her system, CBS News reported. Bland’s mother told ABC 7 Chicago that Bland did not appear to be high in the dash-cam video.
3. Other Scratches and Abrasions Were Found on Bland’s Body
Bland had a dark bruise on one arm, according to The Houston Chronicle. She did not, however, have a broken hand or arm, which she can be heard talking about during her arrest. Bland did not have any wounds on her head or face, although she yelled during her arrest video that her head was being slammed into the ground. She did, however, have scratches on the back, which could be the result of officers’ having their knees on her back when she was on the ground. She also had abrasions and cuts consistent with being handcuffed, according to ABC 7 Chicago.
The autopsy also showed that Bland has old cuts on her wrists, ranging in age from cuts that are completely healed to newer cuts that were scabbed over, according to The Houston Chronicle.
4. The Results of the Family’s Private Autopsy Aren’t Available Yet
The family has also ordered a private autopsy of Bland. They are waiting for the results of the independent autopsy, and will have Bland’s funeral on Saturday. The family is considering a wrongful death suit.
5. Bland’s Family Said She Would Not Have Committed Suicide
Bland’s family and friends say that there is no way Bland would have committed suicide in jail. They have said that she was happy and looking forward to her new job in Texas. Bland had said in a Facebook post that she suffered from PTSD and depression, but her family said she was never diagnosed with it, according to ABC 7 Chicago.
The Waller County Sheriff, Glenn Smith, told Reuters that jailers on duty when Bland was brought in said she did not appear depressed or at risk of suicide. She wrote on a questionnaire that she was not depressed at that time. However, she had also told jailers that in 2014, she tried to kill herself using pills after she lost a baby, Click2Houston.com reported. (A different questionnaire at the same jail placed the year as 2015). But a deputy told Click2Houston that just two hours before they found her body, she was acting lighthearted and even laughed. When her body was found two hours later, a garbage bag had been made into a noose, which was put around her neck, hanging her while she was sitting.