ILLINOIS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – Speaking from hundreds of miles away from where their loved one was found dead in a Texas jail cell, Sandra Bland’s family addressed the media for the first time since video of her traffic stop was released.
Cannon Lambert, an attorney representing Bland’s family, confirms the 28-year-old’s body was flown back to Chicago in preparation for her funeral, which is scheduled for Saturday. Her family flew home on the same flight after meeting face to face with Waller County officials.
“This could have easily been avoided. There was very little reason that can be gleemed from the dashcam why sandy had to be asked to put her cigarette out, why sandy had to be asked to get out of her car, why sandy had to be subject to the officer pointing a taster at her. Why sandy had to be thrown to the ground and hurt,” said Lambert.
Watching the dash cam video was an emotional experience for the family, according to Lambert. Sharon Cooper, Bland’s sister, said she believes Trooper Brian Encinia pulled Bland over because of her out-of-state plates.
“I feel like the officer was picking on her and I personally think it was petty,” said Cooper.
Bland was found hanging dead in her cell, three days after her arrest. Authorities said her death was a suicide, but the family has disputed that. The family also disputes reports that Bland may have been suffering from depression.”
“She was never diagnosed from what the family understands,” said Lambert.
Also on Wednesday, Waller County Sheriff Glenn Smith said Bland admitted she’d tried to kill herself in the past. Smith said Bland told a jailer about the previous suicide attempt as she was asked a series of questions during the booking process.
Meanwhile, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says Bland’s family “deserves answers” and that the Texas Rangers will coordinate with the FBI in investigating her arrest and death. Abbott said in a statement Wednesday that investigators want to ensure that justice is served in this case and expressed condolences to Bland’s family.
Texas leaders, including Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and State Senator Royce West, called for a transparent investigation on Tuesday, moments before Texas DPS released video of the traffic stop. Viewers immediately noticed the video appeared edited, but official say that was not the case.
DPS spokesman Tom Vinger told The Associated Press on Wednesday that glitches in the recording occurred when it was uploaded for public viewing. It was reposted on Wednesday without the glitches.