Groups rally in Texas following woman's jail cell death

The family of Sandra Bland, a woman who died in a Texas jail cell, ordered an independent autopsy. It should be complete within 72 hours.

The family’s attorney said they want to know the truth about how the Chicago-area woman died last week.

Investigators in Waller County, which is near Houston, say Bland hanged herself with a plastic bag. Family members are questioning that account.

The 28-year-old was arrested after a traffic stop on July 10. Police said she was argumentative and kicked an officer.

About 100 people participated in a prayer walk at a Chicago-area church in Bland’s honor. One of her sisters and a brother were in attendance.

Mourners also gathered and prayed outside the Waller County jail.

Bland had just moved to Texas from Illinois and was preparing to start a new job at Prairie View A&M University.

Prairie View was also Bland’s alma mater and those who knew her well said they don’t believe she was suicidal.

Several student groups with the university came together over the weekend for a vigil to show their support.

“We just want America to know that we need eyes on Prairie View. We need eyes on Waller County. We need the world to see what’s taking place here because a lot of people think that it’s just in places like Ferguson, places in Florida with the issues like Trayvon Martin. But, issues like this happen in a small place,” said Jacolahn Dudley, the SGA president at Prairie View.

The DPS trooper who arrested Bland was placed on desk duty after the department found he violated traffic stop policies.

Authorities in Waller County said there were no cameras in the jail cell where Bland was found dead. However, surveillance cameras in the hall show no one entered or exited her cell during the time when should could have killed herself.

Both the Texas Rangers and the FBI are now part of the investigation.

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