Black lives matter, and so black deaths. In the case of Sandra Bland, the Texas woman who hanged herself in her jail cell after she was arrested during a traffic stop, questions are emerging about when exactly her “murder” (by police) took place. Among the many conspiracy theories that have been floated since the case became a front-page headline, the latest holds that the mugshot of her that has been widely circulated, and reproduced below, was taken after she was already dead.
The claim has touched off a perfect dirt storm on Twitter. Witness:
The fact that #SandraBland could possibly be dead in her mugshot makes me sick to my stomach.
— Bidi Bidi (@cocolashay) July 23, 2015
How do you take a mugshot of a dead person and think people won't notice? #SandraBland
— Menzi Ngcobo (@MrMenziN) July 23, 2015
Bland’s family has already rejected the official narrative, insisting that the 21-year-old did not have a history of suicide attempts, and has called for a second autopsy. Elton Mathis, the district attorney for Waller County, where the death occurred, says that he plans to proceed as he would in a murder investigation, adding, “There are many questions that are being raised here…. It needs to be a thorough and exhaustive review.”
One has to wonder whether Mathis will consider in his “thorough and exhaustive review” the mental health questionnaire filled out by the Waller County Sheriff’s office during Bland’s booking, on which a deputy marked “yes” to the question “Have you ever attempted suicide?” writing the explanation “Lost Baby 2015” in the boxes next to that answer.
An observation by the way on second (and later) autopsies. I am told by a reliable medical source that after an autopsy is performed, the internal organs — or what is left of them after they have been sliced and diced into tissue samples — are crammed into the abdominal cavity, which is then neatly sewn up. The likelihood of any useful information coming out later autopsies is exceedingly slim.