Say her name: The life and death of Sandra Bland

This documentary is incredibly sad. A once vivacious woman full of life is dead following a 3 day stay in jail. The police say it was suicide by a plastic noose made from the trash liner in her cell, but none of Sandra Bland’s DNA or fingerprints were on the plastic noose. Sandra’s family (and what seems the entire world) seem to think the police killed her. Who is right? This documentary takes through Sandra’s life and the three days leading to her death. You decide for yourself.

In the beginning of the documentary Sandra seems to prophesy her death. The date is April 8, 2015 and Sandra is video taping herself for her YouTube channel “Sandra Speaks”. In this particular episode she looks into the camera and says, “being a black person is hard in the United States…you can surrender to the cops and still be killed”. This statement was two days before her arrest.

“being a black person is hard in the United States…you can surrender to the cops and still be killed”

On Friday July 10, 2015 a state trooper stopped Sandra in Prairie View Texas for a traffic infraction. Sandra just had an interview on the Prairie View A&M University campus for a fulltime job, and she was excited about this opportunity. After the interview, she decided to go pick up some groceries at the local grocery store. Sandra was familiar with the streets and traffic signs in the area because Prairie View A&M University was her alma mater, and it was unlikely that a person so familiar with the area would commit a traffic infraction. As Sandra was driving to the grocery store, a police car with siren lights on pulled up behind Sandra’s car very quickly; and Sandra acted as most people do in this situation. Sandra pulled to the side of the road to get out of the police vehicle’s way. But this policeman was not chasing after someone else, his intention was to pull over Sandra. Trooper Encina did pull Sandra over and arrested her for assault and three days later on Monday July 13 Ms. Bland was observed dead hanging from a plastic noose.

Sandra was brought to Waller County Jail. The jail reported that Sandra made 21 outgoing calls, but they could not determine from which phones she made these calls. The last recorded call was on July 11th made to Sandra’s sister. Sandra called her sister and told her that her arm was hurting and that she did not know why she was arrested. This call was made in the lobby of the jail and so there is a video of this call. Sandra’s sister at the time did not know why Sandra said her arm was hurting, but we the viewer know that while Sandra was being arrested the office did something to her arm. We know that because she screamed for him to stop hurting her arm in the dash cam video. In my opinion, in the video of the call to Sandra’s sister Sandra seemed very tired and not fully present. Also, you would think one would have a longer and more detailed conversation with one’s sister if one were in jail; but this conversation was a matter of seconds, which further supports my theory that Sandra was not fully mentally present when she made this call.

The Bland family attorney throughout this documentary was Cannon Lambert from Chicago. Sandra first connected with Mr. Lambert because she previously had been rear ended by a motorcycle and needed his legal services. When Sandra passed away her family asked Mr. Lambert if he could be their lawyer during this difficult time, and he said yes. Mr. Lambert notes that he felt compelled to take the case.

Geneva Bland, Sandra’s mother, and Sandra’s two sisters appear quite frequently in this documentary; and they, along with Mr. Lambert, make a point to state that the cell Sandra was in was the only cell without cameras. If there had been cameras this would be a totally different situation and quite possibly Sandra would be alive. If truly she did commit suicide, they could have caught her in time, and if she were murdered the cameras would have shown the mayhem. It should be noted that the sheriff of Prairie View Texas, Glen Smith, has had numerous complaints of racial intimidation against him. When the head is rotten normally the whole body is rotten.

This was a hard documentary to watch. My heart goes out to the Bland family and all families that have experienced loss while loved ones were in police custody. I personally do not believe that Sandra Bland committed suicide. Sandra previously had a DUI and was unable to pay the fine associated with the DUI; and police gave her the option to serve 30 days in jail, and she did so with ease … no depression and no suicide. If Sandra could serve 30 days in jail without committing suicide, I believe three days in jail would not bring her to the point of suicide. Sandra was a tough woman. She wanted to educate her YouTube channel followers about race relations. She wanted to make the world a better place and she had a fire in her heart. Sandra Bland was not suicidal. Finally, look at her arrest video on YouTube you will hear Sandra screaming asking Trooper Brian Encina to stop hurting her wrist. I find it hard to believe that Sandra could create a perfect noose from plastic while she was in so much pain, and remember NONE of Sandra’s DNA or fingerprints were found on the noose. So, what do you think? Suicide or murder?