Breaking News Emails
A Texas public safety employee involved in the traffic stop that ended in the arrest of Sandy Bland — who would later be found dead in her jail cell — has been been placed on administrative duty for allegedly violating department procedures, the Texas Department of Public Safety said.
The employee was not identified. The department said that while reviewing the July 10 traffic stop in Prairie View that ended in Bland’s arrest, it "identified violations of the department’s procedures regarding traffic stops and the department’s courtesy policy."
Bland, 28, who had recently moved to the area for a new job, was found dead in her jail cell on Monday. Authorities have said it appears she died of "self-inflicted asphyxiation," but her family has questioned that account.
The Texas Rangers and the FBI are investigating the circumstances of Bland’s death. Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis on Friday pledged a fair and impartial investigation into her death.
"The death of Ms. Sandra Bland will not be swept under the rug," Mathis said.
He said a surveillance camera inside the jail shows the hallway leading to Bland's cell door.
"We cannot find where anyone goes into her cell from the hallway to do her any harm, from the last time that she was physically viewed alive," he said.
Bland was arrested on a charge of assaulting an officer after authorities say she became combative with an officer. Her apparent suicide has puzzled her family, who said it is "unfathomable" that she would have taken her own life. Bland said in an online post in March that she was depressed.
Meanwhile, the Texas Commission on Jail Standards on Thursday de-certified the jail where Bland was kept over problems with staff training and observing inmates.
People held at the jail successfully killed themselves in 2012 and 2015, and in 2014 an inmate escaped, the commission said in a statement. It wasn’t immediately clear if the 2015 suicide refers to Bland or someone else. The jail was given 30 days to bring its system back into compliance, but will still be able to accept prisoners.