by Renata Johnson
Two young African-American women who were arrested on minor charges were found in their jail cells hanging. The police department is calling it a suicide, which to family, friends, and even members of the public following the case, say it seems highly unlikely. Bland was arrested during a traffic stop which seems she was targeted due to her civil rights activism and asserting her due rights during the traffic stop. The other woman was arrested over an argument over a cellphone and for that she allegedly hung herself while in custody.
Sandra Bland’s Case
Sandra Bland was a civil rights activist and advocate. She was arrested in Texas for being combative during an unexplained traffic stop. No one still is explaining the reason of her stop in the first place. Shortly after her arrest she was found dead, hanging in a Texas jail.
Friends have rallied around the family to help launch a campaign calling out the police and questioning the authorities’ ruling of her death as a suicide while in custody. The ruling seems quite absurd when you consider the facts.
Sandra Bland was being held on charges that could have very well been fought. Her bond was low, yet she was found dead Monday in her cell. She most likely would have been bailed very soon. She had not been in jail for a long period of time, why would she take her life in jail?
Bland, moved to the area and was starting a new job on Wednesday as a college outreach office. The job was at the college she attended and graduated from, Prairie View A&M University. By other people’s accounts she was very excited for first day at work. Committing suicide does not fit her situation, or anyone else’s but the Texas police.
Even Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis acknowledged some of this, saying “I will admit it is strange someone who had everything going for her would have taken her own life. That’s why it’s very important a thorough investigation is done and that we get a good picture of what Ms. Bland was going through the last four or five days of her life. “If there was something nefarious, or if there was some foul play involved, we’ll get to the bottom of that,”
None of the mainstream media is not covering this on the national level, and because of this lack of interest in this matter people have started created an online petition calling for the Department of Justice to investigate this murder.
Tuesday’s autopsy listed Bland’s cause of death as being “classified as a suicide, with the cause of death (listed as) hanging,” according to Tricia Bentley, a spokeswoman for the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences.
The court records which were filed on Friday say Bland was arrested and charged with assault on a public servant, a third-degree felony. Her bond was set at $5,000 her friends and family were working to raise up the money to get her out.
The last noted time anyone spoke with Bland was when she use the intercom to ask if she could use the phone. A jailer went to ask Bland if she wanted to go to the rec area and that is when her body was discovered. The jailers are required to check on inmates every hour. CPR was performed on Bland, however, they were not able to revive her.
Kindra Darnell Chapman’s Case
There has been another life that has been recently claimed by police. Another 18 year-old girl was also said to have hanged herself in the Homewood City Jail on Tuesday night. This came very shortly after the report on Sandra Bland’s arrest, and death. In both cases, police have claimed that these individuals have killed themselves right after their arrest.
Kindra Darnell Chapman was booked into jail at 6:22 p.m., on first-degree robbery charges. Only an hour later she was found dead. The robbery, and this should be noted by the public, was not an ordinary robbery, she took a cellphone from another youth. They were in the 1600 block of Lakeshore Court. The police is calling this a robbery, something that may have or may not have been true. Last checked, a person is supposed to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
There could have been a very good defense for her actions, such as, someone breaking or taking her phone, and then she turns around and take theirs. While it is illegal, these things happen very often in everyday life. People just don’t go around calling the police and reporting robberies unless of course you live in the suburbs, then it is a completely different ballgame. Something like this in the impoverished communities would have been quickly noted as a teenage spat.
Deputies at the jail say that they last saw Chapman alive at 6:30 p.m. By 7:50 p.m. police say she was unresponsive. They claim that she “used a bed sheet to hang herself.” Chapman was driven to Brookwood Medical Center, but she was immediately pronounced dead.
There will be no rest for the friends and family of these two African-American women, until they get more answers than what they are receiving now. There should be a deeper investigation into these deaths, but for right now all anyone can say is, two young lives gone too soon, and the last people to see them alive are the very ones who are trained to protect and serve the communities. Either way someone needs to answer for what has transpired while these women were in custody.