An Illinois woman who was found dead in a jail in Texas was laid to rest near Chicago -- but questions about her death continue to mount.
Hundreds gathered Saturday to pay their respects to Sandra Bland, the Illinois woman who died in the custody of Texas police sparking nationwide outrage and calls for an investigation.
Family and friends o Bland said that she was a “courageous voice” who fought for social justice, and they promised to find out the truth behind her controversial death, according to an Associated Press report.
The funeral took place near a Chicago suburb where she was raised, and she was celebrated with songs and eulogies, with her mother dancing in the church aisle, arms raised to the sky, according to the report.
But as family members finally laid her to rest, the questions still remain for them: how did a traffic stop for failing to use a turn signal result in Bland, 28, being placed in a jail cell, where police say she committed suicide after spending three days in there?
An autopsy performed by the Harris County medical examiner’s office in Texas found that she used a plastic bag to hang herself, but the family is not happy with that explanation: they don’t think she suffered from any mental issues and indeed seemed excited about a new job, making it strange for her to take her own life.
Geneva Reed-Veal, Bland’s mother, vowed to find out “what happened to my baby,” she said according to the report. She refused to accept that Bland would have killed herself.
The traffic stop garnered nationwide outrage after a police dash cam video — as well as footage from a bystander’s cell phone — seemed to indicate that the officer escalated the situation, angered by her refusal to extinguish a cigarette at his command during the traffic stop. He threatened to use his taser to shoot Bland. The officer was placed on administrative leave due to the investigation.