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Sandra Bland’s voicemail from jail was ‘haunting,’ says the friend who released it

It had been days since LaVaughn Mosley had been told his friend, Sandra Bland, died in her Texas jail cell. He looked at his phone -- two missed calls, and a voicemail buried in the dozens he keeps on his phone.

“I’m still just at a loss for words honestly at this whole process,” Mosley heard Bland say. “How did switching lanes with no signal turn into all of this, I don’t even know.”

“It was haunting and chilling, both,” Mosley told The Times on Thursday by phone. “I just had to relive everything that had happened, and to hear her voice after I knew she was gone. Part of it was the guilt because I hadn’t listened to it.”

Mosley recounted the contents of the voicemail he received from Bland. He released the recording to a local media outlet that first posted it Wednesday, but he said Bland’s family has since requested he not distribute it further.

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About a week before he listened to the voicemail, Bland had appeared at Mosley’s Prairie View, Texas home, buoyant and excited about a job interview at a nearby university, her alma mater.

“How do I look?” Bland asked, and Mosley, 57, said he replied, “Like you’re getting the job!”

Later that afternoon, she shared some good news: She’d been hired and would begin work the next week.

She called him again from the Waller County Jail, where she was taken after an argument with an officer during a traffic stop. She told him she’d been “roughed up,” Mosley said, and sounded determined to “pursue the officer who abused her.”

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Three days later, her lifeless body was found hanging from a plastic trash bag attached to a privacy partition, according to authorities.

Her family, backed by activists and a campaign on social media, has insisted she would not have killed herself and has called on the Justice Department to investigate the incident.

After the release of additional details from Bland’s autopsy Thursday, Mosley said he’s frustrated about the focus on Bland, who authorities say had marijuana in her system and had indicated on jail intake forms that she’d previously attempted suicide.

Mosley said there were no red flags in the days leading up to her arrest that suggested she suffered from mental illness or even mild depression.

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“What about that officer? Why is he still working? After we realized he broke every rule in the handbook?” Mosley said in a phone interview.

“Why aren’t we asking the real hard questions, and not whether Sandra Bland smoked any marijuana?”

For more breaking news, follow me @cmaiduc

NEWSLETTER: Get the day’s top headlines from Times Editor Davan Maharaj >>

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