Sandra Bland, the woman who was found dead in her Texas jail cell, is honored and remembered by family and friends, on Saturday, July 25.
The funeral, held in Lisle, Illinois, where Bland grew up, takes place just one day after Bland’s autopsy report confirmed her death as a suicide.
The death of the 28-year-old Chicago native was deemed a suicide, but family and friends are still pushing for further investigation, believing it to have been a homicide. According to NBC News, the family had their own autopsy conducted to make sure there was no foul play. The results of the second autopsy have not been released.
Bland was found hanged from a plastic trash can liner in her jail cell, three days after her controversial arrest. Bland was pulled over for failure to signal a lane switch, on July 10, when she was arrested.
The investigation into Ms. Bland’s mistreatment has revealed that she disclosed feelings of depression and past suicidal thoughts to a couple of jail intake workers during her time in the Waller County jail.
Sheriff R. Glenn Smith, the Waller County, Texas sheriff who oversees the jail where Sandra Bland was held, says that he is “completely confident” there was no foul play in Bland’s death. However, he says that knowing she had a history of mental illness and suicidal tendencies does not help the results of Bland’s case now.
“Does it help Bland’s situation? No, it don’t,” Smith told NBC News . But can we take something at least in that honor of her and make it better? I’d be a idiot if I did not make that effort to do so.”
Despite Bland’s confessions, her family still raises questions about her death, claiming that she was moving and about to start a new job working at A&M University in Texas, so there was no reason for her to end her life.
Reverend Theresa Read, at the DuPage African Methodist Episcopal Church, where the service was held, said that those mourning the young woman’s death would remember her as a “young lady that refused to be subdued and silenced.”
Reverend Read attempted to turn the death of Ms. Bland into a powerful and inspiring message.
“Our service will be one of celebration. We’ll be celebrating the life of Sandy Bland. We have much to celebrate. We’re happy that she found her voice, found her purpose in social justice. We celebrate that she walked and lived in her truth,” she said.
Reverend Read sides with the family and supporters of Bland, stating that she believes the account of the beloved woman’s death is “plagued with inconsistencies.”