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Activist Sandra Bland found dead in cell under suspicious circumstances

Avital Norman Nathman is a freelance writer whose work places a feminist lens on a variety of topics, including motherhood, maternal health, gender, and reproductive rights. Her work has been featured in Bitch magazine, Cosmopolitan.com,...

What happened to Sandra Bland? Young, black woman's death ruled a suicide, but many aren't buying it

28-year-old Sandra Bland was traveling to Texas for a job interview at her alma mater, Prairie View A&M University. But Sandra never made it to Prairie View. Instead, she was pulled over by Waller County police for a minor traffic violation and later arrested for what police said was "assault on a public officer." After three days in jail, she was found hanging in her cell, and her death was ruled a suicide despite numerous doubts to the contrary.

The entire situation surrounding Sandra Bland's death is full of questions. Why was she arrested when the video of her arrest doesn't show a belligerent or violent woman, but rather someone who was simply questioning the police as to why they were treating her so roughly.

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Bland was arrested last Friday and was set to be released on $5,000 bail this past Monday. She was only in jail for less than three days. When a worker went to collect her for some recreation time — right before she was to be released, which makes little sense — she was found hanging in her cell, and the official cause of death noted was suicide, despite the fact that nothing in Bland's life pointed toward it.

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She was on her way to a promising job interview, and according to her friends and family, led a happy, active and accomplished life. She was also an activist for racial and social justice, and most recently posted a video of herself promoting the use of social media in activism. In fact, according to the Chicago Tribune, Bland's family released a statement through their lawyer that they are "... confident that she was killed and did not commit suicide. The family has retained counsel to investigate Sandy’s death."

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In fact, they're not the only ones who are certain that there is more to this story than a "simple" suicide. Many have taken to Twitter, trying to raise awareness about Sandra Bland and her case and showing that social media is good for activism, like Bland suggested.

In a climate where black people have every right to be afraid and suspicious of the people who are delegated with protecting them, it's no wonder that people are questioning the events surrounding Bland's death. It's somewhat heartening to see mainstream media pick this up, giving a bit of hope that more people understand that #BlackLivesMatter, and hopefully something can be done about this soon, so more senseless deaths are prevented. And in the meantime, hopefully the truth about Sandra Bland comes out.

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