Sandra Bland—the African-American woman whose mysterious and sudden death in a Waller County, Tex. jail last week after a traffic stop has incited controversy—told jailers that she had previously attempted suicide, according to information from a closed meeting with Waller County officials on Tuesday.
On a form, Bland indicated that she had attempted suicide over the past year, apparently due to the loss of a baby. At the time of her arrest, however, Bland indicated that she did not feel suicidal. Her mental history remains “a little bit fuzzy,” Rep. Sylvester Turner told The Houston Chronicle.
Forms filled out by Bland at the jail and released by Waller County officials said she had previously attempted suicide over losing her baby, but those documents had several inconsistencies, according to the Associated Press. One form said she took pills in the hopes of killing herself in 2015, and another said the attempt was in 2014. On one form, Bland apparently indicated she had suicidal thoughts over the last year, but in another form said she had not.
Authorities should have put a greater watch on Bland after learning of her suicide attempt, Turner said, illustrating “the need to make sure we provide the care and the interventions for people who are having a behavioral and mental health issues when people are coming into our county jail system.”
An attorney for Bland’s relatives, Cannon Lambert said that there was “no evidence” that she had previously attempted suicide, according to the Associated Press.
Bland’s death was ruled a suicide, but the Waller County District Attorney said it would be given the same amount of scrutiny as a murder investigation. Authorities released a dashcam video of the traffic stop, which included the officer threatening Bland with a stun gun.
Bland had just moved to Texas from Chicago for a temporary position with Prairie View A & M University.