The Brief: July 23, 2015
Sandra Bland, who was found hanged in her cell last week, apparently told officers while she was being booked that she had previously attempted to commit suicide.
The Big Conversation
Sandra Bland, who was found hanged in her cell last week, apparently told jailers while she was being booked that she had previously attempted to commit suicide.
That information came through records released Wednesday in a case out of Waller County that's drawn national attention. The Tribune's Terri Langford has more:
According to the mental health questionnaire filled out by the Waller County Sheriff's office during her booking, a deputy marked "yes" to the question: "Have you ever attempted suicide?"
The deputy also wrote "Lost Baby" and "2015" in the boxes next to that answer. ...
Bland also indicated to the jailers that she had suffered a loss with the death of a godmother, and that she had been diagnosed with epilepsy and was taking an anti-seizure medication.
However, she was not placed on monitoring as a suicide risk during her three days in in jail, according to the sheriff and district attorney's offices. Using a standardized grid of risk factors, jailers classified Bland as a "medium" risk of assault or escape.
There is a discrepancy, however, as the computer summary of the questionnaire says "no" under a question asking "Attempted suicide?" Officials did not immediately clarify why that discrepancy occurred.
KTRK, meanwhile, obtained a voicemail message Bland left on a friend's machine, in which she says she says she's "at a loss for words honestly at this whole process." Bland's arrest — for a charge of assaulting an officer — stemmed from her getting pulled over for failing to use her turn signal while she switched lanes.
And the Chicago Tribune quoted Bland's sister, Sharon Cooper, at a news conference Wednesday in which she said the video of the arrest shows "the officer was picking on" Bland. That officer has now been reassigned to desk duties.
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Quote to Note
"Instead of offering those voters leadership or solutions, he has offered fear and soundbites. This cannot stand."
— Former Gov. Rick Perry in a Washington speech Wednesday in which he blasted rival Donald Trump for controversial comments
Today in TribTalk
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News From Home
• On this week's TribCast, Emily Ramshaw talks with Evan Smith, Alana Rocha and Julián Aguilar about the Sandra Bland death investigation in Waller County, Chapo Guzmán's escape from a Mexican prison and Donald Trump's impending visit to the Texas-Mexico border.
Trib Events for the Calendar
• The Texas Tribune Festival on Oct. 16-18 at the University of Texas at Austin
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