Hundreds of people gathered Sunday for a prayer walk at the Chicago-area church of a suburban woman found hanging to death in a Texas jail cell.
DuPage AME in Lisle, Ill., held the walk in honor of Sandra Bland as the investigation into her death continues. One of Bland's sisters and a brother were in attendance, while other family members met with the family attorney in Texas, according to Bland's sister.
Bland, 28, from Villa Park, traveled from Chicago to Waller County, Texas, earlier this month for a new job at a local college. On July 10, she was arrested during a routine traffic stop and charged with assaulting a peace officer.
Three days after her arrest, Bland was found hanged to death in her cell at the Waller County Jail in Hempstead, Texas.
Friends and family of Bland have questioned her death, saying they did not believe she would commit suicide and noting her history of self-styled civil rights activism.
The pastor at DuPage AME called for members of the church to write letters to the U.S. Attorney General's office demanding an independent investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice. An online petition has been started as well.
Bland was an active member of the church and last attended services just a few weeks ago, the pastor said. Her funeral services are expected to take place at the church.
U.S. & World
News from around the country and around the globe
During a press conference Friday, Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said video footage of the hallway outside of Bland's cell did not show anyone entering her cell before her death. There is no video footage taken inside the cell, however.
Meanwhile, the state trooper who stopped Bland allegedly violated traffic stop procedures and the agency's courtesy policy, according to a report from The Associated Press.
The investigation into Bland's death is ongoing, and Mathis says it "will not be swept under the rug."
"There is nothing we are going to hide, we are going to get justice for Sandra Bland," Mathis said.