WALLER COUNTY, Texas -- Several people witnessed the arrest of Sandra Bland on July 10, 2015, including Renee McKnight. She was working at the barber shop across the street when she heard the commotion and went outside.
"She was out there fussing and cussing," recalls McKnight. "She was the one doing all the fussing and cussing. And as far as what he (the trooper) was saying? I couldn't tell because he wasn't talking as loud as she was."
McKnight says the officers on scene acted properly, as far as she could see. It's less clear what happened in the days following the arrest. Bland spent the weekend in the Waller County Jail, and was last seen alive by Waller County jailers around 7 a.m. Monday. Two hours later, Justice of the Peace Charles Karisch was called to the jail for a death inquisition.
"I looked at the body, asked if EMS had been there and it was a flat line. I pronounced her dead. I did see a dark mark somewhere around the neck," Karisch said.
Judge Karisch says it looked to him like Bland committed suicide. On Thursday, the Harris County Medical Examiner's office also ruled her death a suicide. Initial findings suggest a plastic bag was used.
"I think I saw a plastic bag hanging on something," said Judge Karisch. "That's what I believe absolutely."
But Bland's friends remain doubtful. Why would a young woman who just moved from Chicago to Texas to start a new life kill herself? Former classmate John Kelly says he's angry.
"It's kind of hard for me to imagine someone, who moved back from home all the way to Texas and about to start a new job at the alma mater, and then be dead. It's hard to understand."