Updates To Sandra Bland Death Including Possible Dash Cam Edits

Ken AshfordRacial HomicidesLeave a Comment

Background is here — Unfortunately, not a new story.  Black person gets pulled over in a southern town and dies in police custody.  The person was Sandra Bland, a vibrant educated 28 year old woman from outside Chicago, who as down in Houston for a job interview, which she got.  After a verbal exchange with police following a traffic stop for failing to change lanes on July 10, she was arrested.  She was dead 3 days later.  Police say she hanged herself with a plastic bag inside the Waller County Jail.

There was video of the arrest from a passerby.  We now have the police dashcam video.  Here it is in full:

Yeah, I know it’s 52 minutes.  So I understand if you don’t want to watch.

But there is something funky about the video…. in two places.

At one point, a tow truck driver exits his vehicle and walks around State Trooper Brian Encinia’s car. Within seconds, the truck driver is seen making the same exit and walk, but Encinia, who can be heard recalling the traffic stop encounter in detail, is uninterrupted.

Minutes later, a white car appears on the screen and disappears two times, before reemerging and making a left turn.

In both cases, audio of Encinia’s voice continues without interruption. Watch the two clips:

One explanation could be that the equipment was faulty, but authorities have agreed to investigate whether or not officers tampered with the evidence.

My sense it is not edited, if only because it so obvious and bad.  But we’ll find out.

Of greater concern, is what wasn’t edited out of the video.  What you have his this officer following and following Bland, as if looking for a pretext to pull her over.  Driving while black, anyone?  And then she fails to make a signal while changing lanes.  And he pounces.  Bam!

And then, contrary to arresting officer’s affidavit that Bland “was swinging her elbows at me and then kicked my right leg in the shin,” causing “pain in my right leg and small cuts on my right hand,” the video clearly shows Brian Encinia being unnecessarily hostile to Bland — who is, by her own admission, annoyed that he had tailed her until he could manufacture a reason for pulling her over.

Encinia aggressively enters her vehicle, telling her that he will “yank you out of her” if she doesn’t comply with his directive “to step out of the car.”

“Step out or I will remove you,” he said.

“I’m getting removed for a failure to signal?” she asked.

“Get out of the car or I will remove you,” he replied.

“I’m calling my lawyer,” she said.

“I’m going to yank you out of here,” Encinia replied, and proceeded to do exactly that, at which point the situation quickly escalated.

A FURTHER THOUGHT:  Over at FDL, a blogger makes a reasonable argument why police may be culpable, even if the death was a suicide.