The Texas Department of Public Safety has asked the FBI to assist in an investigation into the death of the 28-year-old woman who apparently hanged herself in a jail cell in Waller County on Monday, reports the Houston Chronicle. She was identified as Sandra Bland, an Illinois native who had studied in Texas and recently returned to start a new job. Bland was found in her cell about 9 a.m. Monday, “not breathing from what appears to be self-inflicted asphyxiation,” said the Waller County Sheriff’s Office. The death has attracted the attention of local and national politicians. A Texas trooper pulled Bland over on Friday afternoon after she changed lanes without signaling. The trooper ordered her out of the car because she was argumentative and uncooperative, said an agency spokesman, adding that she was about to be issued a written warning when she kicked the trooper.
At that point, she was arrested and charged with assault on a public servant. In a video of the arrest, Bland, who is black, complained of police slamming her head against the ground and being unable to hear. At a press conference yesterday, County Sheriff Glenn Smith addressed criticism he weathered in 2007 of racist behavior, calling censures he received “just politics,” and noted two of the councilmen who called for his suspension were later imprisoned on federal bribery charges.”Black lives matter to Glenn Smith,” he said. “I can assure you of that.”