The mysterious death of Sandra Bland is still unsettling for family members and an upcoming HBO documentary, set to air in December, examines the circumstances and unanswered questions that continues to haunt their lives.
In a new clip from the upcoming HBO documentary Say Her Name: The Death and Life of Sandra Bland, her loved ones are shown questioning the circumstances surrounding her death while wading through a steady stream of misinformation from authorities, Shadow and Act reports.
Bland was arrested after a traffic stop in July 2015 in Waller County, Texas, and died in her cell three days later. The police claim her death was caused by suicide.
“We were told: ‘Once you get here, it will be proven, without a doubt. You’ll be able to see that she contributed in her own death,’” Bland’s mother, Geneva Reed-Veal explains in the HBO clip.
However, after the family was shown security tapes taken the day the 28-year-old died, what they watched only prompted more questions about the chain of events.
“The video that we viewed when we went down [to Texas], it was only for the morning of Monday, July 13. There are no time stamps, there are no dates. Her cell was all the way at the back corner. She was in cell 95. The way they choose to phrase it is, ‘Where she was did not have cameras.’”
Bland’s sister, Shavon, adds. “I think that’d be strange. Then how are you monitoring your inmates?”
The film is directed by Kate Davis and David Heilbroner, whose short film “Traffic Stop” about a 26-year-old Black school teacher from Austin, Texas, who is stopped for a routine traffic violation that escalates into a dramatic arrest was nominated for an Academy Award this year.
In addition to questions and comments from Bland’s mothers and sisters, the directors also chose to weave Bland’s own voice into the film through her online video series, “Sandy Speaks.”
the exhibit featuring smiling images from Bland’s life before sitting in a makeshift car to watch footage from the traffic stop that ultimately led to her death.
For her mother, Geneva Reed-Veal, sitting in that car was the hardest part of the exhibit.
“It felt like when that officer was walking, he was walking towards you,” she told local station KTRK.
Reed-Veal added that she felt like her daughter was telling her story even after her death.
“People seeing this exhibit should say to themselves hold on, I’m going to think a little differently about the way I do things—with my interactions with everyone but more so police officers,” she said.
The artists who worked on the exhibit clearly did their homework. Many of the pieces give a glimpse into the type of woman Bland was at the time of her death.
“I’m discovering we were very similar. She was a woman who took over 50 selfies, she had very healthy self-esteem, was in a sorority, educated, young had a future ahead of her,” said Lee Carrier, the designer behind the central mural in the exhibit.