The Sudden Unexpected Death of Sandra Bland

    First the medicine. Sandra Bland reported to the arresting officer and to the jail booking people that she had epilepsy. Epileptic attacks are reported by epileptics to increase in frequency and severity when a person with the condition is under stress. Why is still unknown. See Stress and Epilepsy.

    The following rests on the hypothetical assumption that Sandra Bland may have had a sudden unexpected death from epilepsy. This fatal outcome is so well known in medical circles they even have an abbreviation for it. SUDEP.

    According to the link, SUDEP (Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy) is:

    SUDEP is defined as sudden, unexpected, nontraumatic, nondrowning death in an individual with epilepsy, witnessed or unwitnessed, in which postmortem examination does not reveal an anatomic or toxicologic cause for the death.

    This blog also also rests on the hypothetical assumption that whoever runs the Waller County jail where Sandra Bland died has not been entirely truthful in relating the circumstances of her death.

    It is the unfortunate case that like so many Americans today my attitude towards police reports/testimony.... is do not trust.....verify.

    We do know that Sandra Bland had epilepsy, and was under stress, she told us so in some of her last recorded words at the scene of arrest.

    Charles Blow has an excellent column today at the NYT (link) pointing out many circumstantial peculiarities and inconsistences in official media reports on Bland's jail cell, its contents and things like a Bible on her cell bed, closed in one network video, open in the other,  Mr. Blow:

    ..what page is the Bible opened to in the NBC video? It is open to Psalm 119 and at the top of the page are verses 109-110: “Though I constantly take my life in my hands, I will not forget your law. The wicked have set a snare for me, but I have not strayed from your precepts.” Eerie. Or, convenient.

    Mr. Blow also says:

    Isn’t this an active investigation? Shouldn’t that cell be treated like a crime scene? Why are reporters allowed to wander through it? Who all has been in it?

    Some comments at his NYT article noted that the body was seen through the cell door window by a female guard, and then when she entered with a male guard the body was found near a toilet behind a 'privacy partition', as reported by the UK Guardian:

    At 8.58am, he said, an officer went to the cell to ask if she wanted to go to the recreation hall. She was found partially hanging from the privacy partition, next to the toilet, “in a semi-standing position with the ligature around her neck” and her feet on the ground.

    It would seem the privacy partition gave little privacy. I have found no diagram or layout of Bland's jail cell to know whether a body hanging below a hook next to the toilet is visible from the cell door peep window.

    Where in fact was the body found, how was that verified? Could it be a suicide was used as an excuse for a sudden unexpected prison death? Is it normal prison procedure to put epileptics in isolation with no observation whatsoever, not even by another inmate? Did the administrators of the jail force or suggest false testimony to avoid accountability?




    We need to look at a lot more of this file.

    This really bothered me. I am an epileptic. Going back to 1992?

    This is a tragedy.

    And I do not use that word casually.

    I have written before about my son's relationship with a Black friend.

    The Black guy is worth five times what my son is worth.

    And my son admits he is never pulled over for anything, and yet his friend is stopped all the time.


    Now the Feds and the state investigators will have to investigate this travesty.

    I mean, pulled over for not signaling a lane change?

    No wonder she was pissed off!

    This aint goin away!



    From the emedicine medscape link on SUDEP:

    In a few witnessed cases, the immediate event before death was respiratory arrest (obstructive and central). Most victims were reported to have had difficulty breathing before death. Attempts at cardiopulmonary resuscitation were unsuccessful.

    Who can trust these guys and their records and reports?

    Or delve into their psychology for lying their asses off with the idea they will get off scott free by blaming dead victims?

    The official autopsy cited (old healed) 'cut scars' on the body, a sick attempt to defame her as a suicide addict. You can get scars without being suicidal, I could show you a few.

    Our media is like an echo chamber of the official line.

    It is like finding some email or post on a blog indicating that the victim was depressed.

    Hang in there NCD.

    This mess aint going away!

    Not with this video.

    NCD, do we know if the local T.V. show preceded the other one?

    Clearly the bible has been moved as well as opened, or shut.

    If Yang's film is later there is a suggestion of staging, the way the bible is oriented toward whomever might be filming., coming into the room. Why stage it?




    According to Charles Blow's NYT article, the Bible was open for the second video by NBC News. Call it someone's idea of a prop for suicide theater for TV. Shoes were gone in the second shot. Maybe they remembered she had them on when the EMT's took her away.

    Why the huge garbage can, see image below from Blow's article. What does an inmate have to throw out?

    And has anyone ever used a cheap can liner to hang themselves? She was 6 feet tall BTW.


    Why 'stage it'? Why shoot a guy in the back at 25 yards in SC? Why U-turn and speed up and pull up behind Ms. Bland tailgating her, then arresting and assaulting her for getting out of your way?

    One cannot comprehend these people's minds, motives or why they do what they do. And many are not too smart. But smart enough. Lying helps on that score.

    And could staff be told to support the official line? I imagine so. And will stick with it unless grilled individually and put on lie detectors.

    Why do some lie when telling the truth might not really be so bad for them? Habit, business as usual in a rigid hierarchical environment.

    Perhaps you lie about it because you didn't know why a young lady died, you worry that if the lady who should never have been arrested in the first place winds up dead in your custody the heat, the focus and the accountability will be on you.

    And over the 27 hours between when she died, 9am July 13, and when it was reported, noon the next day, suicide seemed the low risk route, blame her, focus on the victim, she was dead anyway.

    NCD, there is a third version of the jail cell scene in the AP photo shown by the LA Times.

    Interesting segment on Lawrence O'Donnel, DA wants her body (already released and sent to Chicago) preserved for future investigation.

    This one is from the LA Times. Note the prominent position of the huge waste can and the rushed unprofessional placement of the can liner. If she used a can liner, shouldn't this bin be empty, and the liner checked for fingerprints?

    BTW why a can liner?

    Wouldn't the bed sheet or a torn piece of inmate clothing work better?

    Oh but of course, the EMT's, others, too many saw the victim and the scene, a pant leg couldn't be torn off later, too many had seen her and the cell.

    So what to use as the 'rope'? A disposable can liner?

    Looks similar to the others, with a better view of the 'privacy partition' which if you are on the toilet side, I don't think anyone could tell if you were alive or dead from the cell door peep hole.

    Unless the family can get a very good non-Texas non-cop connected forensic pathologist to examine the body (if not too late) with the differential diagnosis including the prison lied about the plastic bag and she MAY HAVE died of an epileptic attack and SUDEP. -(leaves no trace in autopsy see SUDEP link)

    OR agreeing that she did hang herself determined by examination of the supposed marks on her neck occurring prior to and being the cause of death (if faked after death this is often detectable).

    Unless that happens, I would say cops or prisons presenting testimony and conclusions about circumstances surrounding the death of a person in their custody, especially if black, cannot be trusted

    This was murder by cop, it's as simple as that.  She was under stress because she was pulled over for no real reason.  She was then assaulted.  She was then confined to a cell for three days, again for no reason.  Whether she was highly stressed, epileptic or just depressed and confused, she died because a cop picked her out of her daily life and abused her.

    If it was suicide, and it probably was, then depression and a feeling of hopelessness were likely involved. I think that there are hints that she may have had trouble raising bail and that after three days may have felt abandoned and friendless. Total speculation but that might have been the final straw after the psychic load that had been dumped on her by the nature of the arrest and confinement.

    In a voicemail released by police Bland said in a message to a friend, “I’m still just at a loss for words with this whole process, how switching lanes with no signal turned into all of this, I don’t even know. But I’m still here, so, I guess call me back when you can.”

    Another inmates report of what she knew.  

    Being distraught is exactly what can lead to a seizure, and precipitate sudden unexpected death in epilepsy.

    Agree on murder by cop.

    Although reporting the death as suicide takes the focus off the arrest and the cops and puts the onus of her final fate onto her. 'Yes, the arrest was overly aggressive. But..... it was legal. Unfortunately she was a weak suicidal woman who then killed herself".

    Which - along with the multitude of reasons above - is why the first suicide in history by can liner.....and that novel act by a 6 ft woman on a 5 foot just another protect-the-cops fairy tale.

    "Billie Bob, take one of those big waste cans from the officers lounge and put it in there for the TV cameras, make sure a can liner is in it"

    Just to add to the discussion . . .

    Friday, July 24, 2015 Democracy Now! (FULL SHOW)

    Sandra Bland’s Sister Responds to Suicide Allegations
    Lawyer Says Waller County Withholding Details3

    This is a snippet of Amy speaking to the Bland family attorney and placing some bright light on the Waller County DA...

    AMY GOODMAN: I want to ask about the Waller County DA. In 2014, Elton Mathis, the DA, was accused of sending threatening text messages after an African-American clergyman asked Waller County to provide data on prosecution rates by ethnicity.

    Reverend Walter Pendleton says after he accused DA Mathis of selectively prosecuting minorities, Mathis texted him with threats. Mathis reportedly told him, quote, "You are too stupid to know what that word means."

    The prosecutor cited examples of white public officials he had prosecuted, and then he texted, quote, "My hounds ain’t even started yet dumb ass. ... When I talk people [will] listen. Keep talking and I will sue your ass for slander."

    Now, I am saying these words because they are the text, and this was reported in the Houston Chronicle, of the DA that we’re talking about today, in response to a prominent local reverend who was concerned about selective prosecution by ethnicity. Cannon Lambert, can you respond?

    ---end snippet---

    There is quite a bit more in the video and entire transcript that is a real eye opener...

    See video and read more here-->3


    Thanks for commenting and for the links.

    The way the arresting cop behaved towards Ms. Bland one would pretty well assume Waller County is replete with racist a**holes and idiots devoid of any common decency, and in positions of authority to boot.

    Media handling of this is disappointing (am I surprised? no) considering that:

    1) Sandra self reported on the arrest video and the booking that she had epilepsy.

    2) Stress is known to increase attacks of it

    3) Attacks can be fatal. If I put 'epilepsy, sudden death' into Google I get a slew of articles on that fatal condition.   See lead post link on SUDEP,

    Yet I have heard not one media comment or article:

    (1)  expressing even an iota of doubt on the veracity of the prison 'suicide by bag liner' report, issued 27 hours after her death.

    (2) suggesting some faint implication that SUDEP could be the real cause of her demise.

    Particularly with all the odd circumstances in the prison as noted in this post and by Charles Blow at the NYT link.

    The 'death by bag liner around the neck strangulation' being an unheard of method of suicide.  And the usual sheets or clothing were available to perform the act in the traditional fashion. (see hypothesis above on 'why the bag liner').

    I think the reason BlackLivesMatter disrupted Netroots Nation is that they know that no one will be held responsible for the death of Sandra Bland. The worse that may happen is that a police officer is fired and left free to be a law enforcement officer in another department.

    Harvard Professor Gates was arrested for breaking into his own house

    Trayvon Martin was killed by a sociopath

    Jordan Davis was killed for playing music too loud. His murderer was not convicted for the homicide, but because he fired at fleeing teens

    Eric Garner was choked on camera

    If there had been no video of the cop shooting a man in the back in North Charleston, the homicide would have gone unpunished. Fellow officers backed up the lies he put in his report.

    BLM knows that we are just going through the motions with Susan Sandra Bland. The fix is already in. BLM knows that Sanders economic plan will not change police behavior. 

    As Colbert said in his 'roast' of George W at the DC correspondents dinner in I think 2004.....our news media performs like stenographers...... they take as gospel that neither politicians nor police ever lie How anyone cures that obsequious trait of the corporate media I have no idea. One thing to do is turn off the 24/7 TV news and ignore the pundits. Get the facts from news sources on the scene.

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