On Sandra Bland, Her Case, Speculation, And Edited Footage

Let me preface all of what I’m going to write about here by saying this:

Whatever comes of this particular case, I have seen enough videos and shows (cops) in terms of how the police handle “routine” traffic stops. Some of them go off without a hitch, and others escalate to something worse. There is a gray area that isn’t attractive enough to report on, because society will forever focus on the problems. Which is fine when it comes to the improvement of our justice system and those that enforce it. Let me also state that I’ve been around, seen, heard, read, or watched citizens who have been pulled over for a traffic stop handle the stress in a way that escalates their own misfortune. So a ticket becomes a search of the vehicle. A search becomes a trip to jail or maybe even another host of suspicions and accusations thrown at said citizen.

There.

I’m done with that.

Now…

Yesterday, I read an article via NBC news reporting on the backstory of one Sandra Bland. It gave some information on her relationship with her family, some of what was going on in her life leading up to her arrest and subsequent death while incarcerated. I had heard about Bland and the case, but was not following it as closely as I am now. The article I linked above was my first understanding of what went on.

Now this is one of HUNDREDS of articles from around the blogosphere about Bland’s death being ruled suicide because she was depressed. Or at least that’s the way in which it was written. From a standpoint that Bland’s story was a tragic one. She had bouts with depression, of which her family did not think was anything too serious. She had reportedly told family members that she had thought about suicide. It even states that she told jailers she had thought about suicide. And so many like me read the news, and went on about our lives.

There were others however, who saw the video:

Here is a link to the wired.com article that has the 49 minute video of seemingly sketchy footage of the entire incident that lead to Bland’s arrest. For those that would like to play it in this article without jumping, I’ll try and embed it below as well:

Multiple sources have noticed inconsistencies with the video in question, and it appears very likely that it was edited in some shape or fashion.

What does this mean?

What are they trying to hide?

Who are THEY?

The police?

The media?

The media and the police?

Who are you suppose to believe?

Get as close to the source as humanly possible. The closer you get to the source of a story, the more things will become clearer. But what if the closer we get, the more confusing things become? In all honesty, the way my understanding of the case has been:

My initial research of the Bland case just screamed that this poor woman had suicidal tendencies, was frustrated about being pulled over; and even more upset that she was jailed not too long after obtaining a brand new job. Perhaps she believed being arrested would lead to her being fired from her job? And then she started having..those negative thoughts again? About how she wasn’t sure she belonged in this world. Then maybe while sitting in her jail cell she grabbed a trash bag, tied it around the shower curtain and…

Wait, they don’t have trash bags in jail cells. Soooo….how did she get a trash bag?

Also, why did police release two videos of the incident in question? Was it to shutup the people who thought the initial video was edited, or was it because they (the police) KNEW it was edited and did not want to risk any further probing of THEIR (the police) inconsistent stance on the nature of how Sandra Bland went from getting a new job to committing suicide in a jail cell with…a trash bag.

Here is what happens when I type in “define asphyxiation” into the google search:

In this question, asphyxiation is a noun that means the condition of being deprived of oxygen. This is a word for dying from lack of oxygen. Anyone who chokes to death dies from asphyxiation. This is a medical word for a horrible thing that could happen to anyone.

For the record, Bland could not hold her breath to choke herself. She could not have say, covered her own nose and blocked off oxygen until death. She would have had to crafted something within her jail cell–which was the size of a 4-bedroom cell (FYI)–to kill herself. To the person who has a casual to mild interest in the case this seems plausible. But then you have to consider the rules and regulations, the way things work inside of a jail. Let me give you one example:

In a jail, everything is hard. Cold, metal or steel all around, even the bed is made out of the same, cold hard material. There’s this strange, thin cushion that’s velcro-strapped to the “bed”. The sink and toilet are one giant, futuristic looking piece of steel. There’s toilet paper. Bacterial soap for the sink. The warden’s instruct us to hold onto all trash until they come by to drop off our sack of goods.

Goods?

Baloney sandwich, apple, goldfish cheese crackers.

See?

Goods.

From that personal experience, I can only speak on what it’s like the first night after an arrest. But once you’re transferred to an actual prison, things are different. You share a room. You have roommates. Everyone shares space, and uses their beds like desks and offices. You aren’t allowed of your room for long stretches of time. When you are out, you have an even shorter amount of time to do recreational activities:

Read the newspaper.

Play card games.

Watch the local news.

Eat.

Call your families.

Then when time’s up, it’s “wash, rinse, repeat”.

I say all that to say this:

Bland’s time incarcerated is the biggest question mark in this investigation because:

Number one, we don’t know the setup of where she stayed. So we can only speculate.

Number two, we don’t know the schedule of the guards there or the particular regulations. So we can only speculate.

Number three, Sandra got into contact with family and was planning to be bailed out of lockup but instead decided to kill herself. What happened between that time? We don’t know, so we can only speculate.

You see a pattern here?

The #blacklivesmatter movement is crucial for sure, but it’s also got to be careful of one thing:

Speculation. It’s what raises suspicion and keeps everyone on their toes. It can be used for good and bad. It can bring something into perspective or further complicate the situation. By definition, speculating is the forming of a theory or conjecture without firm evidence to support it. So while we march for our (black people) social rights, and we as a nation march for equality (whatever that may be), we have to be careful when allowing speculation fuel our perspectives. Because at the end of the day, while these investigations are still looming,

We can only speculate.

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“May she rest in peace, circumstances to the wind, this woman did not deserve death and had the potential to do some good things. My prayers go out to her family during this trying time.”

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