The mystery surrounding the death of a woman who was found hanging in her prison cell days after she was jailed for a traffic infraction has taken another turn after one of her guards allegedly admitted to falsifying their log entries.
Rafael Zuniga initially claimed that he had checked on Sandra Bland an hour before the 28-year-old was found dead in her cell in the jail in Waller County, Texas on 13 July 2015.
But now an attorney for Bland's family, Cannon Lambert, has claimed there was "no question" that never happened and Zuniga, a relatively new recruit, was simply doing what the other guards had told him to do.
Bland was moving from Texas to Chicago when she was stopped by Texas State Trooper Brian Encinia for forgetting to put on her indicator at a junction. The officer claimed she had become combative but dashcam footage called into question that version of events.
Bland was nonetheless booked into the county jail for allegedly assaulting an officer. Three days later her lifeless body was found hanging with a rubbish bag around her neck.
The Waller County Sheriff's Office claimed Bland had died of self-induced asphyxiation and her death was ruled a suicide following an autopsy performed by the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences.
A grand jury also declined to indict anyone in connection with her death, but Encinia was eventually charged with perjury and fired after Texas state investigators ruled that he had lied about what happened when he stopped Bland.
The attorney representing Waller County, Larry Simmons, has however claimed that Zuniga's testimony was taken out of context.
"It is a gross miscarriage of justice and a misrepresentation for any party to cherry-pick or mischaracterize a small portion of that testimony," he told the New York Daily News.
A federal judge ordered mediation in the lawsuit on 20 July, the paper reported.