Sandra Bland jail footage released

Texas authorities released jail footage Tuesday of Sandra Bland, the woman found dead in her jail cell three days after she was arrested during a traffic stop. Officials say the video proves she was alive and unharmed when she was processed at the police station. Watch the press conference live.

'We have received death threats,' says Waller County judge

Sandra Bland jail video

8 years ago
Duration 4:35
CCTV footage from jail released to the media, and clips played at a news conference

Texas authorities on Tuesday released  jail footage of Sandra Bland, the woman found dead in her cell three days after her controversial arrest during a traffic stop. 

Several hours of raw CCTV footage from the jail were released to the media, and clips from the footage were played at a press conference. 

"The reason we are doing this is because of the misinformation that has been put out both through social media and the mainstream media that has led to the rumours that Sandra Bland was in some way deceased or harmed or not well when she was brought into the Waller County Jail,"  Waller County Judge Trey Duhon said during a news conference in Hempstead, Texas. 

The clips, which had no audio, showed several scenes, including Bland's arrival at the jail, her making calls at a central desk and her sitting in a cell.

The clips played for reporters are part of a lengthier video, which was captured by motion sensitive cameras triggered by movement, Duhon said.

Online theories

The release of the footage is meant to counter various theories circulating online about what exactly happened to Bland in jail, including one claiming that Bland was already dead when she had her mug shot taken.

"We have received death threats against Waller County officials," said Duhon, the administrative head of the county. "We have received threats against our facilities.

"People who are out there going through a lot of trouble to fabricate photographs and fabricate videos … we are not going to stand idly by and let that happen."

Video clips showing Sandra Bland during her time in detention in Waller County, Texas, were shown to reporters Tuesday. (Waller County)

Video released Tuesday includes footage of Bland sitting in a holding cell, making a phone call and having her mug shot taken. She appears unharmed in the clips shown.

Bland, a black 28-year-old from suburban Chicago, was found dead in her jail cell on July 13, three days after she was stopped for failing to signal before changing lanes. Bland had recently moved to Texas, where she had lined up a new job at Prairie View A&M University.

Duhon said he doesn't see in the video any indication of Bland being mishandled or mistreated, but he said the investigation is ongoing. He said if anyone is found to have committed any violations, they will be prosecuted.

Toxicology report

Video of her arrest, released earlier, shows a white state trooper saying, "I will light you up" after Bland refuses to put out her cigarette. The interaction escalated into a physical confrontation and Bland was eventually handcuffed and arrested.

Bland's family and supporters have questioned why she was arrested in the first place. 

Sandra Bland is shown in happier times, before being arrested in Texas, and later being found dead in a jail cell. Texas officials today released footage of Bland taken while she was in jail. (Courtesy of Bland family/Associated Press)

Authorities have said Bland hanged herself with a garbage bag in her cell, a finding that her family disputes. Her family, who questioned the manner in which the officer handled the traffic stop, have said Bland was happy about an upcoming move and a new job.

On Monday, an initial toxicology report was released that two experts said raised the possibility that she may have used marijuana while in custody.

The amount of THC, one of the active components of marijuana, in Bland's system was 18 micrograms per litre, according to the report. That's more than three times the legal limit for drivers in Colorado and Washington, states that permit the recreational use of marijuana.

The Texas Rangers and the FBI are investigating the case.


  • An earlier version of this story said Bland was heading to a job at Texas A&M University. In fact, she had a job at Prairie View A&M University.
    Jul 28, 2015 5:27 PM ET

With files from The Associated Press