Echo continues the search for answers in the case of Sandra Bland
In lieu of a recent opinions column published online by Micaela Stevenson concerning the general lack of interest in the investigation of Sandra Bland’s death, medical examiner legal consultant, David Fisher, contacted The Eastern Echo and shared details of his investigation of the case that he will be presenting to Texas legislative this week.
Fisher provided several documents including the official Autopsy report, Texas Commission Law Enforcement personal information, custodial death report, and several letters about the legality of out of county autopsy.
PDFs of these files can be found at Easternecho.com.
Sandra Bland was arrested July 10, 2015 by DPS Trooper Bian Encinia for “Assault on a public servant,” according to the Custodial Death Report.
The video of Bland’s arrest, a traffic stop gone wrong, went viral after she was found dead in her cell July 13, 2015 at 8:54 a.m.
Bland was found hanged from a privacy partition in her Waller County jail cell. She was found with a plastic bag liner around her neck.
Bland’s family, activists and Bland’s attorney dispute this ruling, asking “How could a woman getting ready to start a new job want to kill herself?”
The autopsy report done in Harris County July 14, 2015 states the cause of death as suicide by the way of hanging.
Question we are still asking
- Why wasn’t her epilepsy listed as a pre-existing condition on the Custodial Death Report?
MSNBC asked this same question in a July 15 article.
- In the dash cam video of the traffic stop turned arrest you can hear Bland say “You slam my head into the ground, I have epilepsy mother fucker.” The officer responds “good, good.” This can be found about 14 minutes into the video.
- On Bland’s initial intake form she checked “yes” for epilepsy but the autopsy report does not mention a test for epilepsy.
This is why medical examiner consultant, David Fisher, believes seizure to be the cause of death. He said if this were found to be true, Waller County jail would potentially be held liable for the death for a couple reasons. The first being she was supposed to be checked on every hour and if she had been she would have been found dead or seizing earlier than the current report says she was found hanged. The second being in the video Bland is heard saying she has epilepsy. Could the injury sustained during the arrest have caused a seizure? This is also something Fisher believes the Waller County officer could be liable for if the cause of death was found to be a seizure.
Which caused Fisher to ask: Was the hanging a ruse to cover up the negligence on the side of Waller County jail?
- In the video of the jail published by the LA Times, July 21 no one was seen moving in or around the jail cell between 7:34 a.m. and 8:54 a.m. July 13, however the Harris County Medical Examiner Investigative Report states the last time Sandra Bland was seen alive was 8:01 a.m. July 13 by two Jailers, Deputy R. Zuniga and Deputy M. Serques.
- What else stands out as odd in the video?
- The video shows several men moving around garbage bags, the bag looks like the same one found around Bland’s neck.
Screenshots show the bag that ends up in cell 54 next to Bland at 7:17:03. More pictures can be found online at the Easternecho.com.
- Why was the autopsy done outside of Waller County?
Waller County jail responded by saying that there would be a long wait and the Waller County medical examiner was backed up. However, this point still does not make the action legal.
Documents dating back to 1969 all the way up to 2012 state that “A Justice of the Peace in one county cannot order an autopsy on a resident of that county who dies in another.”
Furthermore the July 6, 1999 ruling still stands that “a Justice of the Peace must conduct an inquest into a suspicious or unexplained death that occurs in the county served by the justice to determine whether the death resulted from a criminal death or omission.
- Does this make the autopsy void?
Fisher said he not only believes this autopsy to be void but that the Harris County Medical Examiner system is corrupt and invalid to be practicing examinations.
Who is David Fisher?
David Fisher is a consultant to attorneys on medical examiner-related issues. Fisher is currently working independently from the Bland attorney but has offered his findings on the case to Houston’s NAACP chapter president and to the Bland attorney team.
Fisher has been working in Texas and calls himself a “butt-insky” because he “has a knack for finding things people miss, I do where people can’t.”
Fisher works as a consultant to help weed out the unjust and corrupt conditions in the medical examiner field specifically in Texas.
“It is as corrupt as a third world country,” Fisher said during a phone interview.
The files used to write this article can be found online. Fisher will be taking his findings to Texas legislator in the week to come.