US & Canada

Sandra Bland funeral in Illinois draws hundreds

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Media captionSandra Bland's family dispute the circumstances of her death in a Texas jail, as Tom Bateman reports

Hundreds have been attending the funeral in Illinois of Sandra Bland, who died in a Texas prison cell nearly two weeks ago after being arrested.

An official post-mortem found that Bland, 28, committed suicide by hanging herself. But her family rejected this and ordered a separate post-mortem.

Bland was found dead on 13 July, three days after she was taken into custody.

She was arrested after a confrontation with the officer who had stopped her for not signalling when changing lanes.

State officials and the FBI are investigating her death.

Mourners including local politicians queued for more than an hour outside the DuPage African Methodist Episcopal Church in Lisle, Illinois, to file past an open coffin and attend the funeral, Reuters news agency reported.

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So many mourners came that an overflow crowd had to watch a live video feed in the basement, it said.

Some of those present had never met her.

"I didn't know Sandra, and I don't know what happened", one man said. "But she didn't have to die," Hank Brown told the Chicago Tribune.

Another mourner who had not known Bland said that as an African American woman she was there "just to show my solidarity to her family and in support of the African American community and the struggles that we have," AP reported.

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Media captionDashcam footage shows Sandra Bland and police arguing

Footage of the 10 July arrest, released by the Texas Department of Public Safety, shows Sandra Bland's car being pulled over for failing to signal, followed by an altercation with the lone officer.

Bland was taken into custody and charged with assaulting a policeman.

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