In a recent deposition, a former Waller County Jail guard has reportedly testified under oath that he falsified prison log records the night that Sandra Bland died in custody.
According to the Houston Chronicle, Rafael Zuniga told Cannon Lambert–Bland’s mother’s lawyer–that despite the log indicating that he checked in on Bland an hour before her death, in reality he had not. Zuniga also admitted that he had been given instruction to log future checks before they had been completed, the Chronicle also noted.
However, lawyers for the Waller County Jail stress that Lambert is taking what the guard testified to “out of context.”
“Numerous depositions have been taken in the case involving dozens of hours of testimony,” Waller County lawyer Larry Simmons said in a written statement. “It is a gross miscarriage of justice and a misrepresentation for any party to cherry-pick or mischaracterize a small portion of that testimony, and take it out of context.”
But, the Chronicle also reported that isn’t a new development in this case. A source close to the state investigation told them that the case’s special prosecutors were well aware of these falsified records, but it didn’t matter. A local grand jury still refused to indict anyone involved with the sheriff’s office.
As we all know, last July in Prairie View, Texas, Bland was pulled over for failing to signal a lane change. Caught on dash cam, she was later arrested for “[assaulting] a public servant and taken to the Waller County jail. Three days later, Bland was found dead in her cell hanging from a noose made out of a plastic bag. While medical examiners ruled her death a suicide, an investigation was launched, but as stated earlier, no one was indicted.
This raised suspicion among the Waller County police shouldn’t be surprising. As Gawker recently pointed out, this case has been plagued with “major discrepancies from the start,” including the arresting officer being charged with perjury and later fired for lying about what happened when he pulled Bland over.
Refusing to give up, Geneva Reed-Veal, Bland’s mother, has filed a federal lawsuit accusing the Waller County police of “willful and wanton” negligence in her daughter’s death.
We hope she finally gets her justice. #SayHerName.