HEMPSTEAD, Texas (AP) — A committee of outside attorneys will assist the Texas district attorney investigating the death of Sandra Bland, the black woman who was found dead in her jail cell three days after a controversial traffic stop by a white state trooper.
Elton Mathis, the Waller County district attorney, announced Monday that the group of lawyers would help his office make decisions in the case based on "credible evidence and not rumors."
He did not specify how the committee would work with his office, but said he still planned to present the Bland case to a grand jury in August for possible criminal charges.
Mathis also released an initial toxicology report Monday with findings that Bland had marijuana in her system at the time of her death. He declined to comment on the report, saying a final report was still being prepared.
Bland died in the county jail after the traffic stop for failing to use a turn signal escalated into a physical confrontation. Authorities have said Bland hanged herself at the jail, a finding her family disputes.
Sitting to the side of Mathis' news conference Monday was a single protester holding a sign that read, "What happened to Sandra Bland?"
Mathis acknowledged the ongoing questions about Bland's death and the intense attention it has received, calling on people to await the findings of his office and other agencies involved in the investigation rather than speculation on social media.
The Texas Rangers and the FBI are both reviewing the case.
"We want this county to be an open book, and for all the information to be shared with any agency that desires," Mathis said.