Say Her Name: The Life and Death of Sandra Bland (2018) Movie Script

Good afternoon,
my beautiful kings and queens.
It is Wednesday, April 8, 2015.
Hopefully, you are out there
or were out there this morning
doing something productive,
something that is
going to help establish
your kingdom and queendom.
Today, "Sandy Speaks"
is going to focus directly
on my white people.
White people. Yes.
Black people know
that all lives matter.
But what I need you guys
to understand is that
being a black person in America
is very, very hard.
I am not a racist.
I grew up in Villa Park,
was the only black girl on an
all-white cheerleading squad,
so I had to learn
how to deal
with white people.
But I want the white folks
to really understand
out there,
not all of us, but some of us,
are really doing
as much as we can.
And we can't help
but get pissed off
when we see situations
where it's clear
the black life didn't matter.
Because in the news
that we've seen as of late,
you could stand there,
surrender to the cops,
and still be killed.
Sheriff's Deputy:
On Friday, July 10,
Ms. Bland was stopped
by the Texas Department
of Public Safety
for a traffic infraction.
The state trooper
arrested Bland for assault
of a public servant,
then transported Ms. Bland
to the Waller County jail.
On Monday,
July 13, at 8:58 a.m.
jailers went to cell 95
and observed Ms. Bland
hanging from her privacy
partition in her cell.
The Harris County of Texas
medical examiner's office
listed the manner of death
as a suicide.
However, there may be
some questions that
cannot be answered,
since this investigation
is yet to be completed.
Shant Needham:
Ooh, Lord have mercy.
Sharon Cooper:
Oh, here we go.
Here we go.
Aw, man.
It looks better in person.
Hey, girl!
I just can't get over,
like, how surreal
it looks, you know?
Okay, sister.
Losing you has been
the hardest thing that...
I thought I would ever have
to go through, but I feel like
it's made me a stronger person.
So this is
our letter that we wrote
to the attorney general.
And it says, "My name is
Sharon Cooper, and I am
Sandra Bland's sister.
"My sister Sandra,
affectionately known
as Sandy,
"was a vibrant, outspoken,
and intelligent 28-year-old
who was absolutely full of life.
"Since Sandra's death,
we have been in mourning,
"but candidly, our ability
to mourn has been paralyzed
"by the unusual and unsettling
circumstances surrounding
her death.
That is why
I am writing to you."
You've got a lot
of people that's
down here standing
with you and us.
People you know,
people you don't know.
A lot of people
who you don't know.
Sharon: I don't think
Officer Encinia knew
whose you were
and who you belong to
when he pulled you over.
Well, each day,
you let him know
what a mistake he made.
We're going to get
to the bottom of it.
No matter how
long it takes.
And we gonna change history,
just like you wanted to.
An innocent daughter's life
was snatched,
in a building right behind us.
This is no longer
just a Ferguson issue.
It is not just
a Baltimore issue.
(protesters chanting)
This is an American issue.
And we will not go away
until it is answered.
(protesters chanting)
-Protesters: Say her name!
-Sandra Bland!
- Say her name!
-Sandra Bland!
- Say her name!
-Sandra Bland!
Won't you say her name!
Say her name! Say her name!
Say her name!
Say her name! Say her name!
Say her name!
(chanting fades)
Geneva Reed-Veal: The trip
Sandy and I took over
the Fourth of July weekend.
She made all of this music
for Mom...
to sit in the car,
and dance, laugh,
and when she was driving,
Sandy kept talking
about going back to Texas.
She said, "Now I know what
I'm supposed to be doing."
She talked about this
almost the whole ride.
She kept saying,
"My purpose is
to go back to Texas,
and to stop all of the
injustices against blacks."
Sandy called me on July 11...
to let me know
that she had been arrested.
I said, "What are
you in jail for?"
She said, "You know,
I really don't know."
And she said, "My arm,
my arm is hurting really bad."
And I could hear her
talking to the guards
in the background.
Then she said,
"I'll call you back."
And she hung up the phone,
and she never called back.
I wouldn't wish this hurt
on anyone.
R. Glenn Smith:
Monday morning, when Ms. Bland
was found in her cell,
and the ambulance
and medical help
was being called,
then I was notified.
When I walked
back to the cell,
the justice of the peace
was already here.
It's a devastating call...
to the Texas sheriff.
That's the last thing we want
in our jail is not
for everybody to come in here
and leave here the same way
they come in, if not healthier.
Elton Mathis:
I got a phone call
from a friend of mine
who's in the media in Houston.
And he said, "Elton, what's
going on with this hanging
at the jail?"
And I said, "Well. We had
a hanging at the jail.
"As far as I know,
the Texas Rangers
are handling it,
and that's about all I know."
"They'll give me a report
when they finish it."
It got a lot stranger.
It was either that afternoon
or the next morning,
uh, everything hit
the proverbial fan.
Police say Bland was arrested
for resisting arrest
and assaulting an officer,
but so far the only video
of the incident
shows Bland on the ground.
I don't believe I saw
the bystander video
until it was released
to the public,
which was Tuesday.
I couldn't understand why
she was on the ground with
this man's knee in her back.
I could not understand that.
As a sister,
my heart, it hurts.
So, of course, when the
bystander video comes out,
now I have a ton of questions
because my mind goes to,
okay, what happened
before all of that
to get her to the point where
she's down on the ground...
with this guy
towering over her.
And how do you go from
this very strong woman
to dead in jail
by alleged suicide.
Cannon Lambert:
He got a hundred
percent on that other test,
so let him do what he--
he took care of it.
Dad, where's the sugar?
I'll see what happens.
I'll let you know when she--
when he lets me know.
He said that he's
going to talk to her.
I love you.
Drive safely.
(woman speaking
indistinctly over radio)
My wife and I
were in the car,
and my wife told me
Sandy Bland had passed,
and I said, "Sandy Bland?
Show me a picture of
who you're talking about."
(radio broadcast continues)
She showed me
a picture of Sandy,
and I mean, you know,
your heart kind of stops
and you're...
you're in shock.
Sandy got rear-ended
by a motorcycle
on the 5th of April, 2015,
and she contacted my office.
She had a big personality,
and it was a big,
bright personality.
See, I'm assessing people
when I talk to them,
trying to figure out
what type of witness
they're going to be.
Is she going to be equipped
to think on her feet? She was.
Sandy died
on the 13th of July.
And from that next morning
when I got a phone call
from the family
asking whether or not
we could get involved,
I mean, uh,
you felt compelled.
(distant sirens wailing)
On Friday,
we got down to Texas,
and it's seven o'clock
at night.
-I'm about to pass out
'cause I'm so hungry.
-I know, baby. I know.
We were told,
once you get here,
it will be proven
without a doubt.
You'll be able to see...
that she...
contributed in her own... death.
Cannon: The Texas Rangers,
they walked us through
so they claimed,
anyway, of the jail.
We were looking,
trying to see
where Sandy was.
I didn't see her ever.
The video that we viewed
when we went down,
it was only for the morning
of Monday, July 13th.
There's no time stamps,
there's no dates.
Her cell was all the way
in the back corner.
She was in cell number 95.
The way they choose
to phrase it is,
where she was
did not have cameras.
But I would think that
that would be strange.
Then how are you monitoring
your inmates?
Why was she
in a cell by herself?
That's a big cell
for one person.
And when they were
wheeling the gurney out,
I went, "Whoa, she's going
to be on the gurney, right?"
Oh, no.
She wasn't on the gurney.
She was not on the gurney.
And then the lead investigator
for the Texas Rangers,
Shane Ellison, had told us
that specifically Sandy made
upwards of 21 phone calls.
Yet they tell us
they don't know
what phones she used
to make these 21 calls.
That doesn't make sense to me.
If you know she made 21 calls,
then you've got to know
what phones she used
to make those calls.
And then he also said
that when he was called
that that triggered
a crime investigation,
a criminal investigation.
So I'm thinking
that we're going to see
the documentation
by way of photographs.
They showed us
some photographs
of her body in the cell.
They did not have
any photographs
that depicted her hanging,
and we were told explicitly
that they don't exist.
And she was hung
from a trash bag.
The trash bag is the ligature.
I thought, where
did this woman
even get a plastic bag from?
When you're booking
an inmate,
you're stripping them
of anything that would
put them in a position
to harm themselves.
You're stripping them
of their shoestrings.
You're stripping them
of their belt.
You're stripping them
of their earrings.
You have
a 30-gallon trash can,
in an inmate's cell,
that gives them access
to a plastic bag.
If she was in as much pain
as she says she was in,
I just don't see how
she could have tied
that perfect,
very perfect noose.
I know that
we were grieving, but...
we are a family
of note-takers.
We take notes of things
that were being told to us
that just didn't sound right.
We view the dashcam video
on the 21st, the day before
we fly her home,
so now I've got
a ton of questions.
Oh, I have a slew
of questions, right?
police radio chatter)
-Sandra: For what?
...send me another unit.
I'm sitting, I'm watching
all of these violations occur.
-Sandra: Let's do this.
-Yeah, we're going to.
That man slapped her.
He slapped her,
you can hear it.
-Encinia: We're going to.
He reaches into the car,
and you hear a smack,
and then you see her head
pulling away from him.
The reason that the slap
is important is because
it's a battery.
When she's recording him,
"Put your phone down."
"I have the right to record.
This is my property."
You tell her
to turn around,
she doesn't want
to turn around.
She says, "Why do I
have to turn around?"
two or three times,
but ultimately turns around
on her own.
Stop it!
I felt like, oh, my gosh,
if she was treated that way,
in public,
cars are riding by,
she's treated that way,
on the road...
what was going on
in the jail?
What was going on in there?
When Sandy called me
on Saturday,
she told me
that her bond was $500.
And I told her
that I had $100
and I would work on
getting the rest for her.
She knows that I'm gonna
come through for her.
I just don't see her
taking her own life.
I just don't see it.
Until we have
concrete answers,
as to the time of her death,
and whether or not that death
could have been caused,
uh, by someone
other than her,
until we have answers
to those sorts of questions,
all options are on the table,
they have to be.
Anytime there's a jail hanging,
a jail death,
that's treated as a homicide.
We're still waiting
for a hard copy
of the Harris County
medical examiner's autopsy,
and toxicology will probably
be delayed about two weeks.
At this point,
this is still fresh.
We're trying to respect
the family and realize
that they have a funeral
that they need to plan.
Ms. Bland's mother is anxious
to get her daughter's body
back to Illinois.
Dan Patrick:
As the lieutenant governor
of Texas,
yes, I want to be sure,
we overturned every stone
and looked at every fact.
That's important for everyone,
but it's most important
for that family.
-That's right.
-I want that family,
when they go back to Chicago...
for when this is resolved,
that they believe,
they had justice in Texas.
Riding back on a plane...
I sent her out of here
on four wheels,
and now she's coming back,
under the plane,
with the cargo.
Like these planes,
she was ascending.
She was going, going,
and she got to a certain leve,
and then she was gone.
(camera clicks)
I am on the steps,
if you can see behind me,
of the DuSable Museum.
I'm getting ready to walk in,
but it's very, very interesting
and amazing to know
how much black history
is truly right here
in our own city.
(camera clicking)
Chicago was founded
by a man of color:
There needs to be
a statue of that man
in the heart of downtown.
The first open-heart
surgery, performed by
Daniel Hale Williams.
That was right on
the south side of Chicago
at Provident Hospital.
Y'all, our history is
so rich and deep,
but it is up to us to find it.
Sandy's number four
in the pack.
And Sandy was a helper.
What about like this?
Growing up, we didn't have
a lot of money.
Can you say,
"Please, Mommy, please?"
My mom had my first sister
when she was 15, and...
she had all of us
by the time she was 25.
And then if I get a chance
to taste it, I'll taste it.
My mother was very strict
about education.
If we were sick,
we had to go to school,
it didn't matter.
I was called "The Warden."
I'm your mom.
I'm not your schoolmate.
But I don't remember
Sandy accepting "no."
She knew she wanted
to go to college.
The HBCUs came
to the Chicago-land area,
the Historically Black Collegs
and Universities.
And she happened upon
Prairie View,
and they gave
her a scholarship,
a band scholarship.
It's a big deal to e
a part of a band at an
African-American institution.
But it also meant doing
something that nobody
in this family ever did,
which was leave home,
and go miles away from
this very close-knit family...
to Texas.
(crossing alarm clanging)
(train whistle blows)
We're right on the west side
of Houston.
And most of our business here
is farming, but...
here at the sheriff's office,
one of our primary focuses
is obviously the jail.
A county jail,
we're not here for punishment.
We're here to hold you
till you go to court,
and then decide
what your punishment is.
We are that guardian,
that, "Okay, we gotta
get 'em through this."
(engine starts)
Lavaughn Mosley:
Sheriff Glenn Smith used to be
chief of police in Hempstead.
Chief Smith had complaints
of racial intimidation.
They reprimanded him,
they sent him
to sensitivity training,
and in spite of all of that,
he continued to get reports.
But, eventuall,
he won the election to be
the sheriff of Waller County.
Taking a lot of classes?
LaToya Smith:
Prairie View is over-policed.
Here's a copy
of the warning.
You are policed by
university campus,
city of Prairie View,
you're policed by
the state troopers,
you're policed by
the sheriff, Waller County,
and the constables.
That's five people
for this area.
(sirens wailing)
This is the same county
that me and Sandy marched
to vote, in 2008.
Because they didn't want
the student population to vot,
so we wouldn't offset
their voting.
We're in Texas.
It's always been
the good old boys system.
Good old boys taking care
of the good old boys.
This county unfortunately
goes all the way back
to the Civil War,
and it is a sensitive topic.
Do we have prejudice
in this county?
Yes. You know.
Do we have it
across the country? Yes.
(horns honking)
Sandy had come back from
Prairie View initially,
and was trying
to kind of find herself...
doing different jobs,
trying to figure out
where she fit.
Hi, I'm Sandy,
and I'm the administrative
assistant here at Cook's.
Today, I'm going to be talking
to you about copolymers
and polycarbonates.
With Cooks, she found out that
one of their biggest accounts
was the penitentiary system.
And she said, "I can't work
for a company that's doing
this kind of stuff."
Sandra: The softness of the
material is important because
it means it will not shatter
and it cannot be easily
sharpened into a weapon.
You find so many
meal delivery products...
It was in direct conflict
with her morals,
in terms of mass incarceration
of disenfranchised people.
After that, she'd had
a couple of job opportunities
that she didn't get,
even though she felt like
she did great, so,
that would frustrate her
You've spent four years
at a university
and wracked up all this debt
and you can't find a darn job?
In your field?
You're not going to be
too happy about that.
Sandra: I've been
really stressed out over
these past couple of weeks,
suffering from depression.
And I started crying,
and in the middle of my tears,
in my head, I just heard
the song, "God Blocked It."
It let me know
that everything
was going to be okay.
It will be okay.
God let me know
that you have got work to do.
I always knew
what she was capable of,
which was harnessing her voic,
being anchored in it.
and doing something about things
that she just felt wasn't right.
-Man: Hold on, hold on, hold on.
-Eric Garner: Don't touch me.
-(police shouting)
The most recent case
of alleged police
brutality here...
...their safety and don't
feel that they can trust
the police officer,
and then police officers...
-(sirens wailing)
Hey, y'all. So...
I don't know where to look.
And if I'm lookin'
a little crazy, it's 'cause
this is a test. Um...
I wanted to make
this video message
and plant my seed
of "Sandy Speaks."
I know my head probably looks
a little crazy right now,
but, um...
with the police brutality
and all of the things
that have been going on
in the news
somewhere along the way,
we've forgotten about an
important group,
which are the kids. Um...
I don't have any kids.
I do have an eight-year-old
and a 14-year-old nephew.
Sorry, my battery about to die.
I ain't even got my cord. Um...
Through "Sandy Speaks,"
we are going to open up
a gateway for the kids.
Educating them on
interacting with police.
I don't think
it's ever too early.
And if you're a cop out there
and you're watching this,
here is your chance
to say something and
educate these kids,
'cause again, I'm here
to change history.
This thing that I'm holding
in my hand, this telephone,
this camera,
it is quite powerful.
Social media is powerful.
We can do something with this.
If we want to change, we can
really, truly make it happen.
"Sandy Speaks."
When she first posted her
"Sandy Speaks" on Facebook,
I got all these notifications
from Sandy. Boom, boom,
boom, boom, boom.
That was her channeling
that energy.
This fight for civil rights,
it still goes on right now.
Although it's
not called civil rights,
that is what it is.
Your right to be a civilian.
We are still in that fight
today, so please don't think
it's over. 'Cause it's not.
You are going to have
to stand before God,
and he is going to ask you,
were you able to show love
to your white man.
Because that's the ultimate
test. I really, I believe that.
We are so valuable
to this country, to this
nation as a whole,
but we will never succeed
and we will never thrive
as a culture,
as a country,
if we don't wake up.
Black-on-black crime numbers
are extremely high.
These gangbangers and
drug dealers, the people
that they're shooting
are not other gangbangers
and drug dealers.
They are killing our babies.
Why do we keep
acting like niggers?
Excuse my French.
But that is what
we keep acting like.
She was speaking
some real powerful stuff,
that some people would not have
dare been able to even speak.
We have to just stop icing
these things over.
We have to stop acting
like they don't matter.
And so Sandy is going to speak
whenever I see something wrong.
I thank you guys,
I love you guys...
What she was really saying
in her messages,
we can no longer be passive
about these things.
Not somebody has to do
something about it.
We have to do
something about it.
She gets a call
from Prairie View
that there is
a job opportunity.
It was a temp job.
And they said,
we need you to be here
to do this job interview.
Well, at first I was like,
"You know, you just left.
"You didn't tell us
or anything." And she was like,
"It was going to be too
emotional and I needed
to do this, for me."
Sandra: To be successful
in this world, you have to knw
how to work with white people.
What "Sandy Speaks"
wants to do
is let my kings
and queens know,
you can do it.
We can be successful.
It is up to us.
I'm here! I am
in Prairie View, Texas.
Back at the crib.
See the sign for
PVAMU right there.
I'm home!
Exiting 10-98 now.
Welcome back. Oh, Lord.
I'm about to go over
Waller County line.
Sandra (over phone):
Hi Mommy, it's me.
Just wanted to let you know
that I made it, I am here!
I am here.
Call me when you get a chance.
Love you. Bye-bye.
When I got to my house,
she was already
in the driveway.
Said, "Interview
at one o'clock."
So she went in, she changed,
she showered.
She said, "How do I look?"
I said, "You look like you're
about to get a job."
Today, y'all, we're going
to talk about hair.
I don't know if many of y'all
saw my post
about how ready
I am for my locks,
but if you could see,
yeah, I got my natural back.
My fellow kings and queens
always find something to laugh
or poke fun about it,
but, baby, under
that edge-up, you got naps.
Sweetie pie, under that
Brazilian, you got naps.
Before you get that perm,
you have naps.
So let's just cut it out.
Let's stop hatin' on people
'cause their hair's natural.
It's only hair.
I love y'all.
Friday, Sandy just called
to say, "Hey, I got it."
I'm about to start
in a few days.
I got it, Mom!"
She was going to work,
but then she was also
going to work on her
master's in political science.
She goes, "I'm going
to the grocery store,
and I'll talk to you later."
I text her and I say,
"Watch out, Prairie View.
Werk it, girl."
Friday afternoon,
tables turned.
Everything's different.
That night, about 10 o'clock,
my phone rings,
and I look at it on the caller
ID and it said Waller County
Sheriff's Department.
And of course,
I answer the phone.
And it was Sandra Bland,
and she was upset.
Not crying, upset
'cause of what happened,
she was pissed
because of what happened.
The main charge
that she come in here with
was assault
on a public servant.
And Ms. Bland, unfortunately,
had a past criminal record.
It was minor charges,
a small amount of marijuana,
But the current charge
of a felony
put her just in that
different category.
But I'm a country sheriff.
I'm a conservative.
By God, don't go violating
the law or we're gonna get you.
And you should be punished
if you're found guilty.
I mean, that's me.
Sandra (over phone):
Hey, this is me. I'm, um...
I just was able to see
the judge.
I don't really know,
they got me sitting
in a $5,000 bond.
I'm still just at a loss
for words, honestly,
about this whole process.
How this switching lanes
with no signal
turned into all of this,
I don't even know.
Um, but I'm still here.
So, I guess call me back
when you can.
(phone chimes off)
Ms. Bland's bond
was set at $5,000.
But most bondsmen here
charge about 10 percent.
So basically,
it'd have been about 500.
Joe Booker:
She called me from the jail.
She didn't have any money,
what she said.
And I said, "Well, you got
somebody that can help you,
or I need to call?"
I called her sister,
and her sister said,
"I had told Sandra
all I had was..."
I think she said a hundred,
and "My rent's due,"
blah, blah, blah.
So the next person
called me after that
was her mom.
I say, "Okay. I'm going
to get with the rest
of the family,
and we'll get back with you."
There was no sense of,
Oh, Jesus, I gotta jump
down here, go on a plane
and go do this right now.
The main thing for us was,
she said,
"I'm gonna call you back."
And the next phone call
I got from the family was
that Monday afternoon,
when her mom called me
and said, uh...
"Mr. Booker, they said
my daughter's in the morgue,"
and that was it.
We were very upset
and saddened by it,
but at the same time,
myself and Elton Mathis
we were bound and determined
to make sure
whatever the process was,
that it would be
open and transparent
from the beginning
till the end.
The truth is,
it was not the authorities
that called me.
I'm the mom.
There was never a phone call
from Waller County about
Sandy's death.
When someone told me
that Sandy hung herself,
it was like this overwhelming
feeling of oppression.
Right, 'cause the thing
that happened with the kids
in Texas, where they were
body-slammed at the pool party
had just happened.
-Get down! Down!
There was so much unrest
in the country,
and this is not
just happening on TV,
and it's happening to someone
who you knew.
None of that made sense
about who she was, the
type of person she was,
the type of fighter
that she was.
Good morning, my beautiful
kings and queens.
If you could see my poster,
here, "All white people are
not against us."
-Sandra: So call the police.
All right. Go ahead.
Go right ahead.
All right. Y'all see it.
The police are about
to get called.
"Sandy Speaks." Game is on.
When the video came out,
I was enraged.
That she would go into a jail
and cower away and kill herself
made no sense to me.
Something was not right.
I just kept posting articles
and information and trying
to get people out there,
and like, Sandra Bland.
Say her name, say her name.
Prairie View alumni kept
tweeting and tweeting
and Instagram-ing
and Facebook-ing
and hashtag-ing her name
Hello, this is Hannah Bonner.
I'm here at the Waller County
When Sandra died,
we had not seen a woman's name
have that staying power
that we had seen
with Michael Brown, Tamir Rice,
Trayvon Martin.
Women had died, but we had not
continued to say their names.
So she died on Monday,
and by Wednesday night
I was at the jail.
And we lit a candle
that had the hashtag:
What Happened
to Sandra Bland.
And so somebody
from inside the jail
blew the candle out.
You have a responsibility
to serve and protect me.
-Officer: No, I don't.
-Bonner: Oh. Oh!
-You don't?
You don't want me to.
Then we started projecting
onto the wall of the jail.
I was asked, was I trying
to racially unite
or racially incite.
Well, honestly, I feel that
my goal is to racially unite.
in the process of doing that,
some people will be incited,
i.e. upset, because based
on the history of America,
it is not good when it comes
to black and white people.
Sandra Bland
didn't have to be here.
America allowed
this to happen.
Because these idiots,
these Europeans have
miseducated our people.
Too black, too strong!
-Too black, too strong!
-Too black, too strong!
-Too black, too strong!
-All power to the people!
-All power to the people!
-All power to the people!
-All power to the people!
-Too black, too strong!
-Too black, too strong!
-No more pigs in
my community!
-Off the pig!
-No more pigs
in my community!
-Off the pig!
-Revolution has come!
-Off the pig!
-No more sisters in jail!
-Off the pig!
-Pigs are going to catch hell!
-Off the pig!
-Oink, oink!
-Oink, oink!
-Oink, oink!
-Oink, oink!
Panther patch, it says,
"Freedom or death!"
And we mean it
till our last breath!
And we mean it till
our last breath!
-Whose streets?
-Our streets!
-Whose streets?
-Our streets!
(boat horn blares)
We're back in Chicago.
Sandy is back in Chicago,
and we're preparing
to bury her.
We're burying her
on Saturday.
And my first text that I receive
from Mr. Mathis, the district
attorney down there,
he says to me at 4:58,
"Where is the body?
"Do you have the results back
on your autopsy?"
I say in response, "Sandy is
here with us. We haven't
received our report yet."
So this is part of what makes me
start to feel like
there's a little gamesmanship
that's going on
because he knows that I can't
have a full autopsy report.
He then says, "Looking at the
autopsy results and toxicology,
"it appears that she may have
swallowed a large quantity of
marijuana or smoked it in jail.
"Since your client
has possession
of Ms. Bland's body,
"I must ask it not be disturbed
any more than necessary
"and that a proper chain
of custody be kept,
so that she will be available
"for future examination
by qualified experts.
Notice is given
at 5:10 p.m."
That "notice is given at
5:10 p.m." is a specific effort
to try and shift the burden
as it relates to the destruction
of evidence on this family
when they know that
they're about to bury her.
You don't release a body
if there's more tests
that you need on that body.
Do you think that's enough
to cover some? I mean--
You're not only going to be
asking what the policies,
procedures, protocols,
and guidelines are,
but you're also going to say,
"as it relates to booking."
-That makes sense.
-Cannon: Perfect.
When you start to deal with,
frankly, deception,
we could potentially file
a lawsuit, if we wanted to,
down there, in Waller County.
You file a suit so you can mae
people give you the informatin
that the family is entitled t.
I mean, for Christ's sakes
she died in their custody.
We were able to get access
to Sandra Bland's cell.
You can see they've left
a lot of it just like the way
it was.
The food is still sitting here.
The bed is still in the same
arrangement that it was left in.
But there's a lot of attention
being paid to the trash bag
just like this one.
And this trash liner.
Of course, this trash liner
is what's believed that was used
to string up here, and for
Sandra Bland to hang herself.
There were reporters,
as we know, go into the cell,
in its state
that it was claimed
to have been in
at the time
that Sandy passed.
And that says that is
not being preserved.
It just blows my mind that
that could have happened,
but it did.
Eighteen years ago,
a single parent
brought five little girls
to this church.
And Sandra Bland was
one of our victories.
Before she was formed...
God spoke into her spirit.
"Now I'm sending you
into a strange land.
"All of the authorities
are not fair.
"All of the politicians
are not honest.
"And I'm sending you,
Sandy Bland-- that's what
they're going to name you--
I'm sending you not to shut up,
but to speak up."
And here came Sandy.
"Good morning,
my kings and queens.
"I'm not a racist.
I don't believe in violence.
"I'm not trying to incite.
"I'm trying to unite.
-"Sandy Speaks."
As a matter of fact...
-(organ playing)
-...when I think of Sandy Bland,
I'm going to think
of more than an outspoken,
strong-willed black woman.
But I'm going
to think of Jesus!
Oh, yes I am!
'Cause don't you know,
Sandy was raised
in a blended family.
Like Jesus,
she was brutally arrested.
Like Jesus, she died
in the custody of authority.
Like Jesus,
Sandy's still speaking.
Are you listening?
Are you listening?
I said,
it's just another day
Just another day, yeah
- That my Lord
- Just another day, oh
- Kept me
- Just another day
- Yes, he did
- Just another day
Just another day
Just another day
That I...
Just another day
- Been by my savior's side
- Just another day...
I lost my best friend
and my sister.
- Wanna say he threw
- Just another day...
And I know that the closure
that I need will not come untl
the legal process is complete.
I assembled a team
of special prosecutors.
Two African-American
special prosecutors,
a female prosecutor, Anglo,
and two male Anglo
all of which were actually
defense attorneys--
people that would traditionally
be antagonistic
toward law enforcement,
to come in and review
what happened to Sandy
in that jail.
Larry Rogers:
The saying is that
a prosecutor
can use a grand jury
to indict a ham sandwich.
Basically, whatever result
the prosecutor wants to see
come out of the grand jury,
they can manipulate
the evidence to secure.
I disagree with the old
statement that you can
indict a ham sandwich.
My grand jurors have always
been smarter than that.
And my grand jurors don't just
let me come in and do whatever
I want.
I think it's a... a farce,
the criminal investigation.
I bet you money
that the DA down there,
they'll say,
"All of the evidence that
we presented to the grand jury
was assessed,
"and they made
a determination that
nobody should be charged."
But the practical reality
of a grand jury investigation
is that it's not adversarial.
I can't be there, I don't
get to submit any evidence.
They get to choose what evidence
they submit and what evidence
they don't.
They may not choose
to submit
any of the dashcam video
if they investigate Encinia.
They get to say, "Sandy was
pulled over because she failed
to use her turn signal.
"She got aggressive,
and she had to be arrested."
And there's no way
for us to know
whether or not that's all
the evidence they really give.
Why? Because it's
a secret proceeding.
It's a secret proceeding
that no one will ever
be able to access.
-GPS: In two miles
take Exit 2,
-79A for US...
to US-20...
La Grange Road.
This is in Maryland,
they have a mobile billboard
that says
"Department of Justice,
Launch an Investigation.
Justice for Sandra Bland."
That was on the side
of someone's truck.
I feel like a large part
of the world has glossed
over the stop,
and they just talk about
how she got in jail
and what may
have happened in jail.
When you terminate
you are letting them know
that you have broken protocol.
and you have put us
as an organization at risk.
And so why that hasn't
happened with Officer Encinia,
I don't know.
I mean, your emotions are too
raw to even come to a grave
and visit anybody.
So the last couple of weeks,
I mean, she was--
even though she passed away
on the 13th, she wasn't buried
until the 25th.
Authorities say Bland
had drugs in her system
at the time of her death.
There have been
some instances
or claims
about a substantial
amount of marijuana
found in her system.
I can tell you
that there has been
a confirmation
of those results.
Warren Diepraam:
One thing was
pretty certain was
that she had a substantial
amount of marijuana
in her body.
To me it was interesting fact,
because it plays on her psyche,
it plays onto why
she may have been suicidal
and why nobody knew about it.
Cannon: What they've tried
to suggest, by marijuana,
is a crock,
is a crock of manure.
And it was a direct attack
on her character.
Sandra Bland was
very combative.
-Judge: What does that mean?
-It was, um...
It was not a model traffic stop,
or-- and it was not a model
person that was stopped
on a traffic stop.
We went to the auto shop,
where the car was.
This is the purse
that she had in the car.
We also found the cigarette
that she was asked to put out.
And she put it out.
The area where you
put out a cigarette,
it was sticking,
standing straight up.
So even though she said,
"I don't have to put it out,"
she put it out.
And even in spite of that,
she was still made
to get out of the car.
"Death and life are in
the power of the tongue,
and those who lose it,
will eat its fruit."
Man, that is a word.
How did Sandy die?
Well, now we're
trying to say, "Oh!
"Let's not look at
what really happened.
Let's talk
about this marijuana
that was in her system."
And so now she changes
from the poor young lady
who passed in a jail cell
to "Oh, she was crazy.
She had a mental illness."
You can throw
all of the... insults,
you can throw all
of what you want to throw,
I'm still going to stand
until everything is uncovered.
Bland's autopsy
has been completed...
(news broadcasts overlapping)
(distant sirens wailing)
Cannon: I'm going to have
the press conference tomorrow
morning at nine.
I mean, we're going to get up
there and we're going say,
"We've made
the decision at this time,
that it's necessary for us
to file suit."
"Why now?
The reason we're suing now is,
they're making us file.
We've asked for the same
information that the media's
released. Right?
They're giving it
piecemeal to the media
in a way that helps them.
We're forced to litigate this
because we have an in-custody
death that's unexplained.
We're not getting information.
We need to know the true
time of death.
Was it on the 13th?
Was it the 12th?
Was the rigor mortis set in?
All of those things are unknown.
The doctor that did our
independent autopsy does not
have the gastric content,
because that's still
in their possession.
She doesn't have
the ligature, that's still
in their possession.
-And then try to spin it
back to the arrest.
-What do you think?
Ted Diamantopoulos:
Police officers know
where the video is.
So at the point where
she's not in the video,
the police officer did
something else to her.
Obviously, she wouldn't
just say, "You're breaking
my wrist..."
-Correct, correct.
-...outside the scope
of the camera.
-Okay, they know
exactly where it is.
So that's kind of how
we frame it.
That they're trained
to go outside of the view
of the camera.
Tom Rhodes:
Okay. Rangers are our friends.
They are really good
at coming in and taking
care of issues like this.
Geneva: I don't think that
there's ever been an issue
like this.
When I sent
my family down here,
they were supposed to be
coming back with Sandy's items.
They were supposed to--
we were told we could
get her phone,
we were told we could
get all of that.
And when they got here,
that totally flipped around.
And so, now...
we gotta do
what we have to do.
The family of Sandra Bland
will be filing suit
on August 4, 2015,
uh, at the federal courthouse,
-Have a nice day.
-Geneva: Thank you.
You know that they say,
don't mess with Texas?
But we're down here
to mess with Texas.
Or they got the message.
Cannon: We sued
Waller County sheriff,
Brian Encinia.
We sued both of the booking
officers at Waller County.
There's the assault
and battery counts,
there's the wrongful
death count,
there's the survival count.
There were
constitutional rights
that were violated.
People in this country
have died for the opportunity
to make sure
that we have a voice
at this point.
And we're going to muster
the strength to use it.
And when you file suit,
you're saying,
this wasn't right.
And you might be,
quote, "the man,"
you might be, quote,
"the system,"
but we feel like
something's got to change.
(indistinct conversations)
Cannon: Folks, thanks
very much for coming.
We, in filing this lawsuit,
are looking to hold those
who are responsible
for the stop, and Sandy's
ultimate death, accountable.
Newsman: This is
a homicide or a suicide?
This family is
a reasonable family.
In the face of Sandy
being the light that she was,
it is very difficult for them
to get their minds around
the notion that
she would hurt herself.
Newsman: What happened
to Sandy is indicative
of a larger conversation.
How does Sandra Bland's
story play into that
larger narrative?
If, ultimately, the answer
to your question is,
that Sandy took her own life,
does that at all change?
She should not have been
there in the first place.
The fact that she was
pulled over
for a failure to signal
a lane change, okay,
the fact that she honestly
and was forthcoming
and complying
with the police officer
when he asked her
for her identification.
That's what he asked her for.
The other ask of her,
and where his tone changed
was when he asked her
to put her cigarette out.
To which she replied,
"I don't have to put
my cigarette out,
"I'm in my own vehicle."
There's a seismic shift
in the conversation
that takes place there.
It's unfortunate,
and I think that the key word
to remember here
is the inability
to de-escalate the situation.
The fact that the situation
escalated in such a way
that we have a young lady
who was merely on her way
to get groceries,
on her way to get groceries
to stock her refrigerator,
on a Friday afternoon,
she ends up jailed,
she ends up dying
in police custody.
We are three weeks out
from Sandra's death.
We are a week out
from burying her,
and we still don't know
what happened to her.
(indistinct chattering)
You can't have somebody
who speaks this message...
-That's right. That's right.
-...that is suicidal.
-Man: No way.
-Woman: No way.
-Say her name!
-Sandra Bland!
-Say her name!
-Sandra Bland!
-Say her name!
-Sandra Bland!
-Say her name!
-Sandra Bland!
The local sheriff, shedding
new light on their statement
that Sandra Bland
committed suicide.
Releasing this intake form
from the day Bland was jailed,
with a startling admission:
she attempted suicide
within the last year.
But to the question:
Are you thinking about
killing yourself today?
Sandra answering no.
I can understand where
she was probably scared.
She was likely
going to lose her job
at her alma mater,
that she had just gotten,
because now,
she picked up a felony.
She had lost a baby
14 months prior.
"I'm in a new location,
far away from my family."
They knew what her bond was.
She wasn't being bonded out.
She's sitting there
thinking about,
what am I going to do.
She come in here
Friday afternoon,
as an aggravated,
upset individual
that probably any of us
would have been.
You got a concrete floor,
concrete walls,
and a solid iron door.
Your physical body
with a high level
of THC is working.
And by Monday morning,
your world has--
in your mind,
your world has ended.
Brian Cantrell:
Suicide is extremely tough.
I can't imagine what her family
has gone through.
I, too, have had
close family members
that have taken their life
and it's hard to understand.
Did she want to do
that in completion,
or did she do it by accident,
wanting to be, maybe caught,
for extra attention?
Those things, you know,
none of us would ever know.
I was there
for the miscarriage.
I was at the hospital
with her and everything,
and she was, she was sad.
But I was not knowledgeable
of any suicide attempt.
Sharon called.
She said, "They're saying
that she committed suicide."
And that just wasn't
the Sandy that I knew.
(horns honking)
About a month before
the unfortunate incident,
she had said,
"Reverend Brazier,
I think I got my purpose.
I think I know
what I want to do."
She came out from
under the table with this...
(laughs) it was a binder,
about an inch and a half,
two inches thick,
of all this research
that she had done
on police brutality.
Body cams, Trayvon Martin,
you know, legislation.
My job has become,
helping wherever I can.
Inspired by
the Million Man March,
there was the creation
of the National
parent involvement...
Racism is still alive today,
and it still...
All the odds are against us.
In Ferguson,
there were two gentlemen
who decided to disrupt
a peaceful protest
and shoot into the crowd.
Y'all, this has got to stop.
When you see somebody
who is such an advocate
for the people
coming behind her,
it is very difficult
to understand why she would
decide to kill herself.
We have a job to do.
That just does not jive.
You got to conquer
hate with love.
Where somebody
is being racist...
Let's get to work.
I'm ready. What about you?
I knew instantly that
it was a cover-up.
because I know that
that wasn't in her character.
I had talked to her,
I had seen her.
And if you know Sandra Bland,
you know, she's had much
harder tims
than sitting in jail
for three days.
Carl Moore:
In 2009, Sandra was charged
with possession of marijuana.
It was a personal use amount,
but we ended up getting
that case dismissed.
In 2010,
she was arrested for DWI,
as well as possession
of marijuana, again.
In lieu of paying the ticket
because you can't afford it,
they'll let you
sit the ticket out in jail.
They charge X amount
of dollars per day,
and when you get
to whatever that amount is,
they release you.
Sandy went to Harris County
and sat for 30 days.
And then she came to Waller
and sat out two weeks.
She knew that was
her responsibility
and wanted
to take care of it.
There are uneducated
people who are hellbent
on self-extermination.
I am not one of them.
I am into building up
my kings and queens.
So for me, black lives matter.
And then, subset,
all lives matter.
It is not okay that we have
to create a hashtag,
"If I die in police custody."
Black lives matter!
Black lives matter!
It went from sadness
to utter frustration.
What I saw was an incredible
amount of misinformation.
And it just kept on, kind of,
getting bigger and bigger
and bigger.
And then you started
to see things that were
outright lies.
Man (over video):
Sandra's done with
her mugshots. I believe...
that the best way to get away
with murdering her
was to stage
the entire booking.
(automated voice):
When she is allegedly
brought out
of the holding cell to
have her mugshot taken,
her face is blurred out
through the entire segment.
Man: One of the most heavily
discussed pieces of evidence
is Bland's mugshot.
Many are postulating
that she was already dead
when her photo was taken
by police.
(automated voice):
When getting a mugshot taken,
prisoners are told not to lean
on the wall behind them.
See that?
He's wearing gloves.
All these videos that were
being put out on YouTube,
going through step-by-step
about how she was deceased
before she even got
to the jail,
(automated voice):
You can clearly see in this
image that Sandra was
flat against the supposed
wall behind her.
Then that's when
you started to see
where we were receiving
the death threats.
People wanting to kill me,
kill the sheriff.
I completely understand
why there are groups of people
that think we killed that gir.
Because we're in the South,
maybe because we talk
a little slower.
Got this big, white,
Bubba-looking guy,
that he must be a racist,
he must not like
black people. Um...
He can't be trusted
to get justice for Sandy.
Now this is a perfect storm
for the country
to be divided and angry.
(protesters shouting)
Back up! Back up!
Man 2:
We've still got
some people inside!
Let them out!
Let them out!
Open the door!
All (chanting):
Let them out!
Let them out!
Let them out!
Let them out!
Let them out!
(indistinct shouting)
(indistinct shouting)
(shouting continuing)
All (chanting):
Sandy still speaks!
-Let's go!
-Sandy still speaks!
-Let's go!
-Sandy still speaks!
-Let's go!
-Sandy still speaks!
On the other side of the wall
is our 9-1-1 dispatchers
who are receiving
emergency calls,
and then you have a group
of people with bullhorns.
Sandy still speaks!
Our 911 dispatchers couldn't
even hear the phone calls.
Sandy still speaks!
We had to get those people
to vacate the front lobby.
I spent several nights here,
at the office, on my couch
because I was
not gonna leave here
with employees,
knowing they've got
to be here all night.
Sandy's still speaking out!
Y'all killed her!
Which one of you two
white boys went back there
and do it? We saw the video.
-Officer: Come on.
-Woman: Hey! Get off of me!
If there's anybody
left in there...
You had the whole country
looking at what was going on..
with law enforcement
under attack, with our past.
We need to just
calm the hell down,
and we need to start looking
at what happened,
and not what we think happened.
And more importantly...
not what we want
to have happened.
Ms. Bland, I'm sorry
I don't understand
Why they had to take you,
but I blame that on the man
Intimidated that you had
the voice to speak the truth
Black lives matter,
but they'd rather have
you in the noose
It hurts to think that
this could be my sisters
and my fam
Got me lookin' to the sky,
yelling like, "Goddamn!"
Why you have to take
this queen from her own land?
Five-O sleep in their cells,
feeling like homeland...
We're doing it!
This is from the homecoming,
from fall, 2014.
This picture is from this year.
A month and a half
before she passed away.
This is from a family dinner
this year.
This had to have been
within the last year and a half,
because my daughter
must have been one
and a half, here.
This is actually
from last summer.
Amy Lambert:
Now, Cannon is
heavily involved.
Life has changed
in a blink of an eye.
One moment we went from
being as a family,
to at any given moment,
Cannon was gone,
and I didn't know
when Cannon was coming back.
Death threats
left on his phone.
Worrying for the kids'
and my safety.
(voicemail beeps)
Man (over phone):
Yes, uh, Mr. Lambert,
I do have psychic abilities.
There's going to be an attempt
made on your life this week.
You're delving
into what's called
the Code of Silence.
And it isn't only in the
Chicago Police Department.
It's especially true
in, uh, the state of Texas.
They always have a problem
with, uh, Afro-Americans
who are so-called
social activists.
Please be very careful,
Mr. Lambert.
Cannon: The thing that really
stuck out to me when I read
this motion was that,
it says, "It is apparent now,
"that Bland's inability
to secure her release from jail,
"and her family and friends'
refusal to bail her out of jail,
led her to commit suicide."
Um, you're not just
blaming the victim,
you're blaming the family.
Mathis: We know that
she was able to make
contact with her family.
They knew that she needed
to be bonded out.
And Mr. Booker, the bondsman,
he's got pretty much
24-hour access to the jail.
So, once your bond is set,
he can go in there and
get somebody out
pretty much
whenever he wants.
Cannon: They find out,
in the early evening
on Saturday,
and by Sunday night,
they're ready to get her out.
They called the next morning,
on Monday morning,
and she was gon.
A day and a half transpired,
that's not a lot of time.
It's just not.
I know why they're trying
to make it out to be.
How do you file that type
of proceeding and, uh,
by the way,
you've not even deposed
the people you are claiming
are responsible.
You've never spoken to them.
You don't know what's
in their minds.
What about you, Waller County?
What about you, jailers?
What about you not paying
attention to where she was at,
what she was doing,
how she was feeling?
(protesters chanting)
You know,
you can't orchestrate
the frustration,
and you can't control
the desire to see change.
(protesters chanting)
Man (over bullhorn):
This is the New York City
Police Department.
Please be advised...
-What's her name?
-Say her name!
-Sandra Bland!
We're in a state
of war right now!
This is war!
All (chanting):
United we stand!
We're doing this
for Sandra Bland!
United we stand!
We're doing this
for Sandra Bland!
-(sirens blaring)
-Protesters: Sandra Bland!
Sandra Bland!
-Sandra Bland!
-Say her name!
-Sandra Bland!
-Say her name!
-Sandra Bland!
-Say her name!
-Sandra Bland!
Won't you say her name!
-Say her name!
Say her name! Say her name!
Say her name! Say her name!
Say her name! Say her name!
Say her name! Say her name!
Hell, you talkin' 'bout
Hell, you talkin' 'bout
Hell, you talkin' 'bout
Hell, you talkin' 'bout
Hell, you talkin' 'bout,
Hell, you talkin' 'bout
(camera clicks)
(camera clicks)
Dr. Joye Carter:
The autopsy is, you know,
our investigative tool.
So you have to be
thinking forward.
She did have a well-formed
ligature mark which had
a V behind her left ear.
And that's the point
of suspension.
It appears that
she was not hanging
but perhaps seated
with her head forward,
which is not uncommon.
As the blood flow decreases,
then you really get sleepy.
Is there any
indication at all
that there could have
been some foul play?
Are you in a place
where you can render
an opinion right now?
You have real injuries that
could not have resulted
from a hanging, but from
blunt force being applied
to the back of the body.
She had scrapes on her
upper right side of her back.
And yet there is no tissue
that is labeled soft tissue
from the back.
Questions are still there.
-I have to go through everything
before I render an an opinion.
-Cannon: Yeah.
The Waller County grand jury,
as of about 3:30 today,
has issued an indictment
against State Trooper
Brian Encinia for perjury.
Is that the only charge
he's facing?
That's the only charge
that the grand jury issued
an indictment on.
The indictment was issued
in reference to the reason
that he removed her
from her vehicle.
It is a class A misdemeanor,
excuse me, up to a year in jail
and up to a $4,000 fine.
I can't even...
I can't even fucking
feel my arm!
This guy's gonna get the
minimal slap on the wrist
for the initial lie that put
my daughter behind bars.
Here's a guy who should
have clearly been charged
with assault,
And I'm going to tell you
that I can say,
"At least we got
a perjury charge"?
My white friends,
don't get upset,
but I'm going to call out
racism wherever I see it.
So for you who can say,
"Oh, the law doesn't see color,"
it doesn't see color 'cause you
ain't got no color in your skin.
You just don't know.
You don't know racism
because you don't live it.
You don't feel it.
What you may see
as just somebody doing
their job,
we see the undertones of that.
We've been trained to see them,
because we live them every day.
Okay, I don't see anything wrong
with the officer's actions
until we get to the point
where he asks her
to put the cigarette out.
She very accurately
pointed out that she didn't have
to put out a cigarette.
This is a perfect example
of exactly how vulnerable
black women are
in public space
to law enforcement.
-He baited her, you know he did.
-She had a problem--
She had a problem
with being stopped,
she didn't like the fact
that she was being stopped,
her whole arrogant attitude,
and that stop.
The officer should not
have pulled her over--
Hang on. Listen!
I wan't everybody to listen.
Because I think--
Mark! Hang on, Mark!
Harry is calling arrogance,
I'm calling dignity.
Black people have a right
to assert their dignity
in public,
and just because it doesn't
cohere with what police want...
Let's just talk about
why we're here a little bit.
Um, as you all know, Dr. Carter
was retained to do a private,
preliminary evaluation
of Sandy's body,
and come up with some
preliminary findings,
at this point,
give you a chance
to ask questions,
with the understanding
that this is our
confidential conversation,
and that what you find out here,
you don't share.
There are certain things
that we look for in forensics
to give us the ability to say
when the death occurred.
And, uh, you have a short window
to document those things.
The primary one is getting
a core body temperature,
which was not done.
And that's what's lost.
And so at that point,
Dr. Carter, when we called
you in, you can't...
No, I can only go back so far,
because by that time,
refrigeration has taken place,
the body has been moved.
The largest amount of marijuana
that shows
is what we call THC-COOH,
or carboxylated,
and that means it's metabolized.
It hangs around the body
for forever.
It is not a whopping
amount of drug.
It was just nonsense.
And so that was just
completely out of bounds.
Um, there were no fractures,
but I found evidence
of deep bruising.
Bruising going all the way
through the deep muscles
on... on the back,
uh, down to the level
of the ribs.
So if someone has
put their knee into a back,
and they're grinding,
that's going to actually
destroy the small vessels
in the muscular tissue.
Just let us know
if you need a break, okay?
We want to try to make sure
everybody's getting the same
information at the same time.
If you need to step out,
it's okay.
Go ahead, Shavon.
You have a question?
With that kind of scarring
going to the ribs,
would it be complicated
for her to breathe,
It would have been painful.
She would have been in pain.
I mean, I've had that type
of pain, and so, I...
I'm just trying to, you know,
process everything.
It's not really adding up
to me.
I wanted to rule out
foul play occurring,
consistent with,
with hands placed on.
I did examine the hyoid bone,
it was not fractured.
We generally see
that when we have
homicidal strangulation,
where someone has their hands
around the neck.
That was not present here.
Correct me if I'm wrong,
with homicidal death,
you see things like
defensive wounds,
you see things
like impressions
in the skin...
-Cannon: You didn't find
any of those physical findings.
So we have these
open questions, still.
Will you be able to dust
for fingerprints, or have
we missed that window?
That should have been done,
but we don't know that they did.
We asked that question
and I was told that they
hadn't done that.
There is a lot of significant
and vital information
that is missing.
The bruising on her back
and on her legs,
I mean, yeah, he was on her back
for a significant amount of time
when she was arrested,
but I mean,
I don't know. It's just,
it could have happened
while she was sleeping.
It could have happened
while she was laying down her,
I mean, I just...
There's a lot of things
that are just...
that just does not add up.
As lawyers looking at this,
we have to approach,
um, all possibilities
and probabilities.
My question is
what led to this point.
I have ruled out
a homicidal hanging.
It's not suggestive
of that at all.
But I think this
is something--
You're supposed to be
face-to-face once an hour,
not looking through a window
and guessing.
This young woman is scared
and frightened
and someone is having
emotional pain, physical pain,
isolated, then you have
some things that should be
as being driven to.
You know, we know
that someone's spirit
can be broken,
even in a short period of time.
So sorry for your loss.
-Thank you.
-Thank you.
The grand jury was released
from the courtroom
just a few minutes ago.
They just came out.
They are done.
Newswoman 2: Everyone
was cleared of wrongdoing
at the Waller County Jail
where Bland died in custody.
Her death was ruled
a suicide,
her protesters
don't believe it.
They have... (indistinct)
-(protesters shouting)
And we just need to let
the court system work.
(indistinct shouting)
I'm sitting there and
I'm going, "Wow. Really?"
Because I'm just mad
because my daughter is gone.
It made me want to get up,
even more, because the truth
has got to come out.
Shavon: To be a strong
African-American woman...
I imagine they were
just so irritated
with her knowledge
and her education.
And just... they got...
they got pissed.
The jail has a policy
that if you bring
an inmate in
and you deem them
to be a threat
or aggressive
or what have you,
you isolate them initially
and then you reevaluate them
within a 24-hour period.
We know that that didn't happen
for Sandy because she was there
by herself for three days.
She's not combative,
she's not aggressive.
Why single her out?
(distant siren wailing)
I am here today
because last Monday,
I read that the grand jury
refused to indict anyone
connected to
the death of Sandra Bland.
I am here today
because justice was not served.
I'm here today
to grieve the loss
of not just one black life,
but several,
whose lives were cut short
because of injustice.
I'm here to remember
Freddie Gray, to grieve
Tamir Rice,
Karin Smith, Michael Brown,
Roshad McIntosh,
Tanisha Anderson,
and many others.
As a white woman
living in America,
I knew that
what happened to Sandra
would not happen to me.
I would not be threatened
with a Taser.
I would not be
taken into custody.
Regardless of
if she had a cigarette,
regardless of whether
she cursed,
I believe Office Encinia
would not have pulled
Sandra Bland from her car
if she looked like me.
Therefore, racism killed
Sandra Bland.
The reason Sandy
was taken to jail
was Brian Encinia's
allegations that
she assaulted him.
That's how Sandra was placed
in solitary confinement.
It's because she was
the only woman in the jail
at that time,
that came under
that classification
that put her there.
And the reason
there's no photograph
of Sandy hanging in the jail
is because when the jail
found her hanging,
the first thing they did
was get her down
and try to bring her
back to life.
In that situation,
it would be a pretty
cruel and callous thing
for a person to do to,
"Let's take a photo
of the person hanging,
and then let's try to see
if we can save them."
Larry and I looked at this,
and we went back and forth
trying to figure out
if there's something
that we're missing,
and we just can't see
that we're missing anything.
So these are the
hourly observation logs
from Waller County,
and this is on the 13th of July,
the day that she was found.
That's the sequence that
the paperwork's coming in at.
So seven o'clock in the morning,
at 7:05 they're representing
her to be there.
And then 8:01,
Now remember,
they're checking on her,
And she's found at 8:00--
Well, she's purportedly
found at 8:54.
So that's when they find her.
Then we see these
other logs at 9:47.
And then there's a blank.
And then at 11:13,
and then there's a series
of blanks, all following.
It doesn't make any sense to me.
The jail logs were filled out
in a way that...
should not have been
filled out.
They were turned in...
with false information.
What that jailer was doing
was pre-filling out the form.
Did he falsify?
No. Not in his mind.
So, the truth is,
he, the person
that signed that jail log,
did not see Sandy.
They did not check on her
that hour.
That is a false record.
Was it made intentionally,
or knowingly,
or with evil intent?
According to what he says, no.
Sandy was bold,
and knew exactly
what was right
and what was wrong.
I don't believe
Sandy shut her mouth
when she got to the that jail.
I believe she kept talking,
I believe she let them know,
I'll see you guys in court.
I believe she did all of it.
And I believe they silenced her.
So no. It's not settled.
And no, I don't believe
she committed suicide. Still.
When we start talking
about how different
this case is,
and if it's different,
I think we approach it
You know, Freddie Gray
was a settlement.
You know, Garner
was a settlement.
Tamir Rice was a settlement.
DuBois was a settlement.
Everything's been settling
for at least 5 million
to 10 million dollars.
They're going to argue
that those were homicides
that were caught in video
as opposed to a suicide,
which we can't prove
to the contrary.
The only thing that you can
go to verdict on is a suicide.
And I started thinking
about what it would mean
if we tried the case.
Well, Geneva didn't believe
that this was a suicide,
and doesn't believe it
right now.
But I watched over 130 hours
worth of video,
and you don't see anybody
go into her cell, or come out
of her cell.
Even though we know
that this was extremely,
extremely mysterious
in terms of
the circumstances
surrounding this case.
She was hung
from a trash bag.
Well, the problem
with that trash bag is,
is that it didn't have
her fingerprints on it.
In fact, it didn't have
anybody's fingerprints on it.
In fact, it didn't even have
her DNA on it.
We know there's
a bunch of evidence
that's out there
that we'll never have
any ability to grab or touch.
It's lost.
But ultimately, I don't
look at it from the standpoint
of whether or not
it was a suicide
or whether or not
it was a murder.
It was an in-custody death.
Sandy should be here, period.
There have been 816 deaths,
in custody since Sandy's death.
One year.
What if we say to them that
we are looking to see cameras
installed throughout the jail?
Your Waller County report says
what it's going to cost
you to do the changes.
It's roughly 20 million,
in your facility.
You know what,
Mother Reed-Veal...
Geneva: There's no amount
of money that you could put
on your child.
And so at some point you have
to not torture yourself
and say, "What happened?"
So I decided I'm going
to go from what happened,
to what happens now.
It was the most unnerving
thing you ever want to see.
Going back and forth,
back and forth.
Mediator coming into the room,
leaving back out.
"No, we're not going for that.
Yes, no, yes, no."
Eight hours.
(indistinct chatter)
I'm okay. The world
will never forget Sandra Bland.
Best... family...
in the world.
And there's going to be
changes that come from this,
long-standing changes
that come from this.
It's time to walk
your talk now.
Young people,
don't let Sandy's death
be in vain.
I am looking at all of you
and you are here
not by coincidence.
The baby said before
she left here she was going
to go international.
She was going to make history.
So now you have
Sandy Bland Parkway.
Look it up on Google.
And it's going to take
a whole lot more of us
standing up and saying
"We are not buying it,"
in order for this to stop.
Charles Witherspoon:
It's tough to hear that
from a mother,
which makes me fight
even harder
to tell the truth,
the whole truth,
and nothing but the truth.
Even when the truth is
against the organization...
that you served.
Police officers
around the country,
you need to hear my voice.
Tell the freakin' truth.
Do I think the legal operation
of this jail
have anything
to do with her death?
No. No, I don't.
The moral responsibility
at eight o'clock,
if you'd have gone
back there in person
maybe looked at her eyes
and seen, "Hey, something's
going on with her,
"a little different.
"She's stressing," uh...
moral responsibility-wise,
It's not a black
versus white issue.
No, we didn't go back there
and tie a bag around her neck.
But it is our responsibility
to take care of her.
And that, with her
and her family,
we let her down.
Could there have been
something we could have
done to prevent it?
I'll always think that.
I'm never going to
make everybody in Chicago
believe what I'm saying.
Or New York City.
But this is the little
corner of the earth
where God's put me.
And if I,
as the district attorney,
don't step back and say,
"Hey, Elton, what do you need
to do differently,
do you have any racist
tendencies in you..."
then I can't help
anybody else.
Good morning, my beautiful
kings and queens.
You know, racism is
still only alive because
people keep perpetuating it.
White and black.
Enough people
don't have friends
of a different race.
Black people included.
We don't have enough
white friends,
they don't have enough
black friends.
For those who don't agree
with the things that I'm
saying, I apologize.
But I'm not going to stop.
This is about educating you.
That is my goal.
We need to educate
each other.
That's the only way
this is going to work.
We love you...
and your sister wants
to play a song for you.
(funk song playing)
I see you, girl.
- I'm too hot
- Hot damn
Call the police
and a fireman
- I'm too hot
- Hot damn
Make a dragon
wanna retire, man
- I'm too hot
- Hot damn
Say my name
you know who I am
- I'm too hot
- Hot damn
And my band 'bout that money,
break it down
So my peeps, I love you.
I'm headed into work.
Hoping you all have the same
great, prosperous days.
Go out there, be great.
Do something that you love.
"Sandy Speaks."
Is it bitter?
Is it sweet, sweet?
Is it bland?
Is it bland, bland? Tell me
Is it bitter?
Is it sweet, sweet
Is it bland?
Is it bland?
Strange fruit
Hangin' from a plastic bag
noose, that don't sound right
Then they call it suicide
Like she ain't got
no sense of pride
My people
ain't no foolin' we
Eyes open, eyes shut,
they gon' see
Open or they're shut,
they gon' see
Is it bitter?
Is it sweet, sweet?
Is it bland?
Is it bland, bland? Tell me
Is it bitter?
Is it sweet, sweet?
Is it bland?
Is it bland?
Tell me, do you
believe this shit?
Hell, no!
They keep getting away
with the same things
Sandra would be turning
in her grave
If we all just shut up
And behave
Silence is a new slave
Silence is
a new slave
Say it now,
silence is
a new slave
Silence is
a new slave
Silence is
a new slave
Is it
Is it
Is it
Is it
Tell me
Is it
Is it sweet,
Is it
Is it
Is it