When the Waller County Sheriff's Office first told America that Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old civil rights activist from outside Chicago, had hanged herself with a plastic bag in a Texas jail cell, it set off a social media firestorm. But on Thursday, a local prosecutor named Warren Diepraam confirmed the medical examiner's assertion, saying, "I have not seen any evidence that this is a homicide."
In a press conference Diepraam, the county's first assistant district attorney, said that Bland had as many as 30 cuts on her wrists, and the Waller County Sheriff's Office has indicated that during her intake interview, she spoke about a suicide attempt from last year, the New York Times reports.
Diepraam also noted that initial tests suggested Bland had marijuana in her system, but that an additional test is still underway.
Meanwhile, new details have emerged about Bland's time in jail. A woman Bland shared a cell wall with named Alexandra Pyle described her to ABC 7 as "sort of distraught" throughout her three days in custody. She was allegedly crying so much she was difficult to understand, although the two attempted to communicate through a chute.
Pyle said that Bland was crying because a friend didn't come bail her out and because she was isolated in her own tank, whereas all the other inmates were kept together in another one.
"I don't think the guards did anything," she told the local affiliate. "I mean it's a tragedy either way. I don't think she should have been in the other tank, alone by herself… because we're over here, we're trying to keep each other laughing all the time, and she's over there hearing that. That would make anybody sad."
It's still unclear how Bland was able to get a plastic bag inside her cell. Her family has conducted an independent autopsy, which was apparently completed Sunday, although the results have not yet been released. They're also calling for a federal Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation into her death.
A video of the traffic stop that landed Bland in jail was released Wednesday, and much of the attention on the case has focused on how Officer Brian Encinia threatened her with a TASER for not putting out her cigarette. The Office of Texas Public Safety has indicated that the interaction violated their "courtesy rules," and Encinia has been placed on desk duty.
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