Woman who died in cell mentioned previous suicide attempt

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Inside The Jail Cell Where Sandra Bland's Body Was Found

DALLAS (AP) -- A woman whose death in a Texas jail has raised suspicions about the official conclusion that she hanged herself told a guard during the booking process that she had tried to kill herself in the past, the sheriff said Wednesday.

Waller County Sheriff Glenn Smith said Sandra Bland told a jailer about the previous suicide attempt sometime after her arrest on July 10.

Bland provided the information while being asked a series of questions posed to each person booked into the jail in Hempstead, about 60 miles northwest of Houston, the sheriff said.

He did not provide details about the conversation.

A second jailer also interviewed Bland, according to the sheriff. The 28-year-old from the Chicago area said she was not depressed but was upset about her arrest, which occurred following a confrontation with a white officer who had stopped her for a minor traffic violation.

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Woman who died in cell mentioned previous suicide attempt
The Waller County jail cell where Sandra Bland was found dead is seen Wednesday, July 22, 2015, in Hempstead, Texas. Bland was arrested and taken to the jail about 60 miles (100 kilometers) northwest of Houston on July 10 and found dead July 13. Officials say Bland hanged herself with a plastic garbage bag in her jail cell, a contention her family and supporters dispute. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
In this July 10, 2015, frame from dashcam video provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety, trooper Brian Encinia arrests Sandra Bland after she became combative during a routine traffic stop in Waller County, Texas. Bland was taken to the Waller County Jail that day and was found dead in her cell on July 13. (Texas Department of Public Safety via AP)
In this July 13, 2015, frame taken from video provided by the Waller County Sheriff's Department from a motion-operated camera, emergency personnel carry a gurney near Sandra Bland's jail cell, at the Waller County jail in Hempstead, Texas. The video, released Monday, July 20, shows there was no activity for about 90 minutes in the hallway leading to the cell where authorities say Bland was found hanged, three days after her arrest. (Waller County Sheriff's Department via AP)
This undated handout photo provided by the Waller County Sheriff’s Office shows Sandra Bland. The Texas Rangers are investigating the circumstances surrounding Bland's death Monday, July 13, 2015 in a Waller County jail cell in Hempstead, Texas. The Harris County medical examiner has classified her death as suicide by hanging. She had been arrested Friday in Waller County on a charge of assaulting a public servant. (Waller County Sheriff’s Office, via AP)
This image from the Sandra Bland autopsy report provided by the Waller County District Attorney's Office shows wounds to Bland's neck and head area. The complete autopsy on Bland has been released, Friday, July 24, 2015, a day after authorities said there were no signs on her body to suggest that her manner of death in jail was anything but suicide. (Waller County District Attorney's Office, via AP)
The Waller County jail cell where Sandra Bland was found dead is seen Wednesday, July 22, 2015, in Hempstead, Texas. Bland was arrested and taken to the jail about 60 miles (100 kilometers) northwest of Houston on July 10 and found dead July 13. Officials say Bland hanged herself with a plastic garbage bag in her jail cell, a contention her family and supporters dispute. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
A videographer shoots outside the Waller County Jail Wednesday, July 22, 2015, in Hempstead, Texas, where Sandra Bland died in a cell. Bland was arrested and taken to a jail about 60 miles (100 kilometers) northwest of Houston on July 10 and found dead July 13. Officials say Bland hanged herself with a plastic garbage bag in her jail cell, a contention her family and supporters dispute. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
The Waller County jail cell where Sandra Bland was found dead is seen Wednesday, July 22, 2015, in Hempstead, Texas. Bland was arrested and taken to the jail about 60 miles (100 kilometers) northwest of Houston on July 10 and found dead July 13. Officials say Bland hanged herself with a plastic garbage bag in her jail cell, a contention her family and supporters dispute. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
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Dewayne Charleston speaks at a Waller County Commissioners Court meeting about the jail cell death of Sandra Bland in Hempstead, Texas, on Wednesday, July 22, 2015. Bland was arrested and taken to a jail about 60 miles northwest of Houston on July 10 and found dead July 13. Officials say Bland hanged herself with a plastic garbage bag in her jail cell, a contention her family and supporters dispute. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
Geneva Read-Veal, center, hugs family members at a memorial service for her daughter Sandra Bland at Prairie View A&M University, Tuesday, July 21, 2015, in Prairie View, Texas. A newly released dashcam video documents how a routine traffic stop escalated into a shouting confrontation between a Texas state trooper and Bland, which led to her arrest. Bland was found hanging in her jail cell three days after the incident. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
Texas Sen. Royce West, center, speaks next to Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, left, and Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis during a news conference, Tuesday, July 21, 2015, in Prairie View, Texas, following a meeting regarding the investigation into the death of Sandra Bland. A newly released dashcam video documents how a routine traffic stop escalated into a shouting confrontation between a Texas state trooper and Bland, which led to her arrest. Bland was found hanging in her jail cell three days after the incident. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
Jeanette Williams places a bouquet of roses at a memorial for Sandra Bland near Prairie View A&M University, Tuesday, July 21, 2015, in Prairie View, Texas. A newly released dashcam video documents how a routine traffic stop escalated into a shouting confrontation between a Texas state trooper and Bland, which led to her arrest. Bland was found hanging in her jail cell three days after the incident. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
A memorial sits outside the Waller County Jail Wednesday, July 22, 2015, in Hempstead, Texas, where Sandra Bland died in a cell. Bland was arrested and taken to a jail about 60 miles (100 kilometers) northwest of Houston on July 10 and found dead July 13. Officials say Bland hanged herself with a plastic garbage bag in her jail cell, a contention her family and supporters dispute. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
Angel Duncan cries while speaking during a vigil for Sandra Bland at Prairie View A&M University, Sunday, July 19, 2015, in Prairie View, Texas. Authorities said Bland hanged herself with a plastic bag three days after being pulled over by police for a traffic violation and then arrested for allegedly kicking an officer during the stop. Bland's family is ordering an independent autopsy, lawyers said. (Jon Shapley/Houston Chronicle via AP)
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, center, speaks next to Texas Sen. Royce West, right, during a news conference, Tuesday, July 21, 2015, in Prairie View, Texas, following a meeting regarding the investigation into the death of Sandra Bland. A newly released dashcam video documents how a routine traffic stop escalated into a shouting confrontation between a Texas state trooper and Bland, which led to her arrest. Bland was found hanging in her jail cell three days after the incident. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
Flowers and other items adorn a memorial for Sandra Bland near Prairie View A&M University, Tuesday, July 21, 2015, in Prairie View, Texas. A newly released dashcam video documents how a routine traffic stop escalated into a shouting confrontation between a Texas state trooper and Bland, which led to her arrest. Bland was found hanging in her jail cell three days after the incident. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
Anthony Collier, of Houston, marches with others from the Waller County Jail to the Waller County Courthouse in Hempstead, Texas, Friday July 17, 2015, to protest the death of Sandra Bland, who was found dead in the jail. Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said there were no cameras in Bland’s jail cell to show if the Illinois woman hanged herself in the lockup as a medical examiner has ruled. Her relatives and supporters dispute the finding.  (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)  AUSTIN CHRONICLE OUT, COMMUNITY IMPACT OUT, INTERNET AND TV MUST CREDIT PHOTOGRAPHER AND STATESMAN.COM, MAGS OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT
Protesters Kofi Taharka with William Mitchell, march with others from Waller County Jail to the Waller County Courthouse in Hempstead, Texas, Friday July 17, 2015, to protest the death of Sandra Bland, who was found dead in the jail. Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said there were no cameras in Bland’s jail cell to show if the Illinois woman hanged herself in the lockup as a medical examiner has ruled. Her relatives and supporters dispute the finding. (Melissa Phillip/Houston Chronicle via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
Protesters join hands outside the Waller County Jail in Hempstead, Texas, Friday July 17, 2015, to protest the death of Sandra Bland, who was found dead in the jail. Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said there were no cameras in Bland’s jail cell to show if the Illinois woman hanged herself in the lockup as a medical examiner has ruled. Her relatives and supporters dispute the finding. (Melissa Phillip/Houston Chronicle via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
Protester Vanessa Myers wears tape over her mouth during a rally outside the Waller County Courthouse after a march from the Waller County Jail in Hempstead, Texas, Friday July 17, 2015, to protest the death of Sandra Bland, who was found dead in the jail. Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said there were no cameras in Bland’s jail cell to show if the Illinois woman hanged herself in the lockup as a medical examiner has ruled. Her relatives and supporters dispute the finding. (Melissa Phillip/Houston Chronicle via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
William Mitchell, 5, of Houston, holds a sign at a rally at the Waller County Jail in Hempstead, Texas, Friday, July 17, 2015, to protest the death of Sandra Bland, who was found dead in the jail. Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said there were no cameras in Bland’s jail cell to show if the Illinois woman hanged herself in the lockup as a medical examiner has ruled. Her relatives and supporters dispute the finding.  (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)  AUSTIN CHRONICLE OUT, COMMUNITY IMPACT OUT, INTERNET AND TV MUST CREDIT PHOTOGRAPHER AND STATESMAN.COM, MAGS OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT
Protesters march from Waller County Jail to the Waller County Courthouse, in Hempstead, Texas, Friday July 17, 2015, to protest the death of Sandra Bland, who was found dead in the jail. Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said there were no cameras in Bland’s jail cell to show if the Illinois woman hanged herself in the lockup as a medical examiner has ruled. Her relatives and supporters dispute the finding. (Melissa Phillip/Houston Chronicle via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
Carie Cauley, left, Rev. Hannah Bonner and Rhys Caraway protest, after the death of Sandra Bland, as they sit in front of the Waller County Sheriff's Office and county jail on Monday, July 20, 2015, in Hempstead, Texas. Authorities said Bland hanged herself in the jail three days after being pulled over by police for a traffic violation and then arrested for allegedly kicking an officer during the stop. Bland's family is ordering an independent autopsy, lawyers said. (Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
Lanitra Dean hugs Carlesha Harrison, a friend of Sandra Bland, during a vigil for Bland at Prairie View A&M University, Sunday, July 19, 2015, in Prairie View, Texas. Authorities said Bland hanged herself with a plastic bag three days after being pulled over by police for a traffic violation and then arrested for allegedly kicking an officer during the stop. Bland's family is ordering an independent autopsy, lawyers said. (Jon Shapley/Houston Chronicle via AP)
Shavon Bland, back left, Sharon Cooper, back center, and Sierra Cole, right, Sandra Bland's oldest sister Shante Needham, center, becomes emotional as she tries to answer a question from a reporter, during news conference about their sister's death, Thursday, July 16, 2015 in Chicago.  Their attorney Cannon Lambert, left, and their uncle Paul Needham, right, were also present. Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old woman who authorities say hanged herself in a Texas jail after her arrest for allegedly kicking an officer following a traffic stop gave no indication she was in such an emotional state that she would kill herself, her sister said Thursday. (Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT CHICAGO TRIBUNE; CHICAGO SUN-TIMES OUT; DAILY HERALD OUT; NORTHWEST HERALD OUT; THE HERALD-NEWS OUT; DAILY CHRONICLE OUT; THE TIMES OF NORTHWEST INDIANA OUT; TV OUT; MAGS OUT; NO SALES
Michael Wolfe, City of Hempstead Mayor, left, Frank Jackson, City of Prairie View Mayor, and Lois Kolkhorst, Texas State Senator, listen as Elton Mathis, Waller County District Attorney, right, speaks to the media at the Waller County Courthouse in Hempstead, Texas, Friday July 17, 2015. Mathis said there were no cameras in Sandra Bland’s jail cell to show if the Illinois woman hanged herself in the lockup as a medical examiner has ruled. Her relatives and supporters dispute the finding. (Melissa Phillip/Houston Chronicle via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
Shavon Bland, sister of Sandra Bland, speaks to members of the media following a prayer walk remembering Sandra Bland, Sunday, July 19, 2015, at DuPage African Methodist Episcopal Church, in Lisle, Ill. Sandra Bland, was found dead in her jail cell in Waller County, Texas, Monday, July 16. Bland was a member of the church for over a decade. (Mike Krebs/Daily Herald via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT; MAGS OUT
Rev. James Miller and Rev. Lana Parks Miller lead a prayer walk remembering Sandra Bland, Sunday, July 19, 2015, at DuPage African Methodist Episcopal Church, in Lisle, Ill. Bland, was found dead in her jail cell in Waller County, Texas, Monday, July 16. Bland was a member of the church for over a decade. (Mike Krebs/Daily Herald via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT; MAGS OUT
Rev. James Miller, left, and Rev. Lana Parks Miller, center, lead a prayer walk remembering Sandra Bland, Sunday, July 19, 2015, at DuPage African Methodist Episcopal Church, in Lisle, Ill. Bland, was found dead in her jail cell in Waller County, Texas, Monday, July 16. Bland was a member of the church for over a decade. (Mike Krebs/Daily Herald via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT; MAGS OUT
Lambert tells @TJMShow the dash cam video shows the trooper pulling his taser out at #SandraBland & she then complies to get out of the car
Failure to signal should never lead to a violent arrest & death in a jail cell. "We can change this." #SandraBland https://t.co/JCaWjIiixa
#SandraBland UPDATE: Civil rights leaders in Texas are discussing working with the family to have an independent autopsy done on Bland.
I HEREBY ATTEST AND AFFIRM That if I die in police custody, I did NOT kill myself. Please get the appropriate revenge. #SandraBland
Beautiful sister, rest well. It's still on. #SandraBland http://t.co/kFts5ZANMR
It appears the FBI has officially been asked by Texas to help with investigation into the death of #SandraBland http://t.co/KnFx5Hu5YK
A major meeting is scheduled Tuesday on the campus of Prairie View A&M Univ. for top state officials to discuss the #SandraBland death
Wow. Just learned that the last man to "hang himself" in the Waller County jail was also arrested for "assaulting an officer" #SandraBland
Witness said #SandraBland was pulled THROUGH HER WINDOW and slammed by police after being pulled over for not using a turn signal.
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Smith says both jailers who spoke with Bland, who was black, insisted that she appeared fine when being booked on a charge of assaulting a public servant.

Bland's body was found three days later in her cell. Authorities say she hanged herself using a plastic liner taken from a garbage can.

Her family has said she was not despondent and was looking forward to starting a new job at her alma mater, Prairie View A&M University.

However, Bland posted a video to her Facebook page in March, saying she was suffering from "a little bit of depression as well as PTSD," or post-traumatic stress disorder. At least one friend has said she was just venting after a bad day.

In suburban Chicago, Bland's relatives held a news conference to discuss video of the arrest taken from the officer's dashcam, which shows him drawing a stun gun and threatening Bland when she refuses to follow his orders.

Bland's family says she was not acting suicidal and they had no indication she had been treated for depression.

Family attorney Cannon Lambert said Wednesday that Bland had just bought groceries and was ecstatic about her new job when she was pulled over.

Her body was flown back to Chicago in preparation for a funeral on Saturday.

The roadside encounter swiftly escalated into a shouting confrontation, with the officer holding the weapon and warning Bland, "I will light you up," for not getting out of her vehicle.

The video posted online Tuesday by the Texas Department of Public Safety shows the trooper, who is white, stopping Bland for failing to signal a lane change. After he hands her a written warning, the trooper remarks that Bland seems irritated. The Illinois woman replies that she is irritated because she had changed lanes to make way for the trooper's car.

The conversation quickly turns hostile when the officer asks Bland to put out her cigarette and she asks why she can't smoke in her own car. The trooper then orders Bland to get out of the vehicle. She refuses, and he tells her she is under arrest.

Further refusals to get out bring a threat from the trooper to drag her out. He then pulls out a stun gun and makes the threat about lighting Bland up.

When she finally steps out of the vehicle, the trooper orders her to the side of the road. There, the confrontation continues off-camera, but it is still audible. The two keep yelling at each other as the officer tries to put Bland in handcuffs and waits for other troopers to arrive.

Still off camera, Bland can be heard protesting her arrest, repeatedly using expletives and calling the officer a "pussy." She screams that he's about to break her wrists and complains that he knocked her head into the ground.

Her death comes after nearly a year of heightened national scrutiny of police and their dealings with black suspects, especially those who have been killed by officers or die in police custody.

In response to questions about gaps and overlaps in the video, authorities said the footage was not edited or manipulated.

Tom Vinger, a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that glitches occurred in the recording when it was uploaded for public viewing. He said the agency will repost the video.

The case has resonated on social media, with posts questioning the official account and featuring the hashtags (hash)JusticeForSandy and (hash)WhatHappenedToSandyBland. Others referred to (hash)SandySpeaks, the hashtag Bland used in monologues she posted on Facebook in which she talked about police brutality and said she had a calling from God to speak out against racism and injustice.

The trooper, who has been on the force for just over a year, has been placed on administrative leave for violating unspecified police procedures and the Department of Public Safety's courtesy policy. The agency would not address questions about whether the trooper acted appropriately by drawing his stun gun or trying to pull Bland out of the vehicle.

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