Senator Dick Durbin is calling for a federal investigation into the death of Sandra Bland, who is the woman from Naperville that was found dead in a Texas jail cell.
The following letter, given exclusively to FOX 32 News, is from Senator Durbin and was sent to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch:
"Dear Attorney General Lynch:
I urge the Department of Justice to open an investigation into the arrest, incarceration, and death of Sandra Bland, a constituent of mine from Naperville, Illinois.
As you know, Ms. Bland was arrested in Waller County, Texas on July 10. Disturbing video of the arrest shows how the situation quickly escalated after Ms. Bland was pulled over by a police officer for allegedly failing to properly signal during a lane change. When Ms. Bland refused to put out a cigarette at the officer’s request, the officer ordered her to get out of her car, attempted to physically remove her from the vehicle, and then threatened her with his Taser.
After Ms. Bland exited her car, she can be heard in video footage stating off-camera that the officer “slammed” her and “knocked [her] head in the ground.” Ms. Bland was arrested and charged with assault on a public servant. Three days later, Ms. Bland was found dead in her jail cell. Texas officials have said that the autopsy results show injuries consistent with suicide. Reports indicate that her family is currently awaiting the results of a second, independent autopsy.
Already, the Texas Department of Public Safety has stated that they “identified violations of the department’s procedures” in a preliminary review of the traffic stop. Furthermore, the Executive Director of the Texas Commission on Jail Standards has found the Waller County Jail to be non-compliant with certain minimum jail standards for the state.
Ms. Bland’s family, her community, and all of those troubled by the disturbing series of events in this case deserve answers. In light of the many concerns regarding Ms. Bland’s arrest and incarceration, and the uncertainty surrounding Ms. Bland’s tragic death, I urge the Department of Justice to fully and thoroughly investigate this case.
Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to a prompt response.
Richard J. Durbin