A new development has occurred in the 2015 death of Sandra Bland. According to The Chicago Tribune, Bland’s family lawyer, Cannon Lambert, revealed that Rafael Zuniga, a former Waller County jail guard, confessed to not checking on Bland an hour before her passing. In addition, he admitted to falsifying the records that stated he did check on the 28-year-old, but instead lied under oath during the court proceedings.
“Numerous depositions have been taken in the case involving dozens of hours of testimony,” said Waller County’s attorney Larry Simmons in an interview with the Houston Chronicle. “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.”
Bland’s death was ruled as a suicide, but the string of events that occurred from her arrest to being put in the Texas jail cell are still unclear. State trooper Brian Encinia pulled over Bland for a minor traffic violation after she reportedly failed to switch on her turning signal, but his interaction with her became heightened and decided to arrest Bland. The entire occurrence was recorded on his patrol car’s dashcam.
Bland’s mother later filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the county, but the grand jury failed to indict the officer, and had knowledge of the falsified documents. The medical examiner deemed Bland’s death a suicide.
According to the New York Daily News, Officer Encinia will potentially face a misdemeanor perjury charge.