HEMPSTEAD, Texas -- Texas officials released video of Sandra Bland being booked and processed after her arrest in an attempt to dispel rumors of mistreatment by jailers in the three days before she was found dead in her jail cell.
Waller County Judge Trey Duhon told reporters in a presentation of the video that law enforcement officials have received death threats stemming from Internet rumors that Bland was dead before she was taken to jail. He also contradicted rumors that a mugshot circulated around the web is a photo of her after she had died.
Sandra Bland was "alive and well," before she was discovered hanging in her jail cell on July 13, Duhon said. "There are people out there trying to put out that she was murdered and deceased before she came to the Waller County Jail."
Bland, a 28-year-old black woman, died in the county jail after a traffic stop by a white state trooper for failing to use a turn signal escalated into a physical confrontation. Her arrest has gotten international attention and questions about whether she was mistreated due to her race.
Bland, who was from Naperville, Illinois, was in Texas interviewing for a job at nearby Prairie View A&M University, a historically black college from which she graduated in 2009.
The video released, while not showing the moment Bland was found dead, does have hours of footage of her being held and processed.
The first portion shows her entering the jail and asked questions by a jailer who was taking a mental health evaluation. She is later taken to a booking area, given an orange jumpsuit, taken to a bathroom by an officer to change into it, then has a mugshot taken. Afterward, she makes a phone call which Duhon says was to her friend LaVaughn Mosely, who confirmed to CBS affiliate KHOU that she did call him the night of July 10, just a few hours after her arrest.
"I talked to her Friday and she was in good spirits," Mosely. "Although she was incarcerated she was in good spirits. She was looking forward to posting bond Saturday and getting out. So you don't go from that to hanging yourself."
After she makes the call, she is escorted to a jail cell until the next day when she begins the magistration process, during which her rights are read to her, she is asked if she can afford an attorney, and a bond of $5,000 was set, of which 10% was needed to release her.
She is later taken out of her jail cell and allowed to make several phone calls from the booking desk.In that footage, Bland appears to be wiping tears from her eyes while leaving several voicemails to people. Duhon says it is unclear exactly who she was calling.
He says he does not know why Bland had trouble getting bail posted and that the bail bondsman, Joe Booker, indicated that he would have taken the $500 necessary with a credit card over the phone.
After the series of phone calls, Bland is taken back to her cell, where she remains until she is found dead on July 13.
A medical examiner ruled her death a suicide caused by asphyxiation. She was found hanging with a garbage bag tied around her neck and an investigation found no evidence of a violent struggle.
Further, an initial toxicology report was released Monday that two experts said raised the possibility that she may have used marijuana while in custody.
However, Bland's family disputes the notion she was suicidal and suspects foul play was involved in her death. Still, officials released Bland's booking forms that showed she admitted she felt depressed and once attempted suicide.
Duhon insists that Bland was not mistreated while in custody at the jail.
"There's no footage that indicates to me that Ms. Bland was treated unfairly in any way shape or form while she was in the Waller County Jail," he said. "I can assure you that if any individuals committed any criminal violations they will be prosecuted."