Sandra Bland’s death has officially been ruled a suicide, according to an autopsy conducted by officials in Harris County, Texas. Warren Diepraam, a prosecutor for Waller County, Texas, where Bland was arrested and later died in police custody, laid out how this cause of death was determined:
“There were no bite marks or other injuries on her face, on her lips, on her tongue, which would be consistent with a violent struggle,” he said.
If there had been a violent struggle, the prosecutor said, examiners would most likely not expect to see a uniform and consistent mark around Bland’s neck — which is what they, in fact, observed. They also did not observe damage to her trachea and esophagus, which they might expect to see if there had been a violent struggle, he said.
Diepraam also mentioned cuts on her wrists and back, which could be consistent with how she was handled during her arrest, or that she tried to harm herself. The prosecutor also mentioned that Bland had marijuana in her system, which could’ve been a factor in her suicide, as The Dallas Morning News reports:
Diepraam said the autopsy does not show when Bland consumed the marijuana, or how much of it was in her system. But, he said even if she consumed the drug three days before she died, it could have still impacted her “state of mind.”
Bland’s supporters remain skeptical of this conclusion, pointing to inconsistencies in jailhouse documents about Bland’s mental state. A recent Texas Commission of Jail Standards report, published three days after Bland’s death, contends that guards did not make timely mental health checks on inmates in the jail where she died.