Vigil held in Chicago to mark anniversary of Sandra Bland’s death

CHICAGO -- Chicago-area native Sandra Bland died a year ago today in a Texas jail cell. Tonight in the Loop, a vigil was held to celebrate her life.
The vigil began with a prayer and will end the same way.

Bland’s eldest sister was on hand to read a poem.

Organizers say in these turbulent times, their motto is “Sandy still speaks.”

Bland 28-years-old and had lived in both Villa Park and Naperville.

Last July, Bland was headed for a fresh start and about to begin a new job at the same Texas university she'd graduated from.  She was pulled over by a Texas State Trooper for failing to signal a lane change.  The routine traffic stop quickly escalated and was captured by the trooper’s dash-cam.

The officer says she’d balked at his request to put out her cigarette and refused to get out of her car and that she became aggressive and had to be physically subdued. She didn’t have the money to bond out, so she was held.

Three days later, Bland was dead.  Her life ended in a small cell at the Waller County Jail, about an hour’s drive from Houston.

The coroner says she hanged herself with a noose made from a garbage bag.

Her death was ruled a suicide.  It is a finding that, to this day, Sandra’s family refuses to accept.
The family says they still haven’t found the answers they’re looking for.

Bland’s family has filed a wrongful death suit that’s still before the courts.

The police officer involved in that traffic stop has been fired.