Waller County, Texas officials are asking the court to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Sandra Bland’s family by claiming the 28-year-old took her own life while in police custody because she couldn’t make bail.
The amount? $515.
“It is apparent now that Bland’s inability to secure her release from jail—and her family and friends’ refusal to bail her out of jail—led her to commit suicide,” a filing by Waller County lawyers claims.
The town’s counsel says police followed the proper procedures by asking Bland if she was suicidal, and allege Bland attempted to repeatedly call a male friend so he could post her bail, but he failed to do so.
“She also made contact with at least one of her sisters, who advised she would not bail Bland out of jail,” the brief states. “Bland also made contact with a bail bondsman, who in turn made contact with Bland’s mother and possibly the relatives. However, none of her friends and family provided the approximately $515 necessary to bail her out of jail.”
Bland was arrested back in July after failing to signal during a lane change. The Chicago native had just relocated to Texas to start a new position at Prairie View A&M University. Bland’s family disputes the town’s claims that she was suicidal and would have taken her life because she wasn’t bailed out of jail right away.
Cannon Lambert, a lawyer for Bland’s family, said Waller County’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit is premature.
“It is very, very early in this litigation for them to have filed that kind of motion,” Lambert said. “They’re making allegations about what my clients know or what my clients did, without even having spoken to them, and I’m curious about how it is they can come to the conclusion that [Bland’s male friend] was ignoring phone calls . . . They’ve certainly not given us any statements in discovery that reflects that that’s the case.”