New video showing the arrest of Sandra Bland during a traffic stop in Waller County, Texas, has been released by the Texas Department of Public Safety.
The nearly hourlong video starts at the end of a traffic stop involving another vehicle. The trooper’s stop of Bland begins at about the 1:45 mark of the video.
Bland, 28, was found dead in a jail cell on July 13, after she was charged with assaulting a Texas state trooper during a traffic stop in Prairie View just days earlier. The trooper, Brian Encinia, has been put on administrative leave after a preliminary investigation found he violated the Texas Department of Public Safety’s traffic stop and courtesy procedures during the stop, which was for an improper lane change.
The video was released after a two hour meeting of elected officials, community leaders, police, the district attorney and other law enforcement agencies.
State Senator Royce West said after the meeting that he does not think Bland should have been taken into custody and does not bear any responsibility for what happened.
Authorities say Bland committed suicide in her cell using a plastic garbage bag. But her family and friends say Bland, who had just made a move from Illinois to Texas to work at her alma mater, Prairie View A&M University, would never have killed herself. They have been joined by thousands on social media calling for a thorough investigation into her death and questioning the police and district attorney’s version of events.
Police say Bland was stopped for improperly signaling a lane change on July 12 and was then arrested on the more serious charge of assaulting an officer. In the police report, Encinia says Bland was “combative and uncooperative” after he stopped her Hyundai Azera with Illinois plates at about 4:30 p.m. Encinia says he made “numerous commands” that Bland exit the vehicle to”further conduct a safe traffic investigation. Bland was removed from the car but became more combative. Bland was placed in handcuffs for officer safety. Bland began swinging her elbows at me and then kicked my right leg in the shine.”
Encinia said he suffered pain in his right leg and small cuts on his right hand. He said “force was used to subdue Bland to the ground to which Bland continued to fight.”
In the video, Bland’s vehicle can be in the left-hand lane of two lanes as Encinia’s patrol car approaches her. Bland then moves from the left lane into the right lane, and Encinia pulls her over.
Encinia approaches the vehicle and says to Bland, “Hello mam,” to which she replies “hi.” He says “the reason for your stop is you failed to a lane change, got your driver’s license and insurance with you?” and then asks her, “what’s wrong?”
After a few seconds of silence, he asks her, “how long have you been in Texas?” and she replies she got there yesterday. He then returns to his car after asking her to “give him a few minutes.”
Encinia then exits his his vehicle and approaches the driver’s side door of Bland’s car. He asks her “you OK?” and she replies “I’m waiting on you, this is your job.” Encinia then says, “you seem very irritated,” and Bland replies, “I am, I really I am. I don’t know what I’m getting a ticket for, you were speeding up, tailing me, I move over and you stop me. So, yeah I am a little irritated, but that doesn’t stop you from giving me a ticket, so give me a ticket.”
Encinia says, “are you done?” and Bland replies, “you asked me what was wrong and I told you, so now I’m done yeah.” He then asks her to put out her cigarette and she replies, “I’m in my car, why do I have to put out my cigarette.”
He then says, “well you can step out of the car now,” and Bland replies, “I don’t have to step out.” He, more forcefully, says, “step out of the car,” and then opens her door, repeating, “step out of the car.”
She says, “you don’t have the right,” and he raises his voice higher, again telling her to step out. She repeats that he doesn’t have the right, and he says he does, and that he will remove her if she doesn’t step out.
Bland asks, “I’m getting removed for a failure to signal?” He replies, “I’m giving you a lawful order,” and after she says she’s going to call her lawyer, he says “I’m going to yank you out of here.” Bland says, “Oh, you’re going to yank me out of my car, OK.”
As they continue to back and forth, he calls for backup and then yells at her as she asks what she’s being arrested for, “Get out of the car!” and pulls what appears to be his Taser out, saying “I will light you up.” She then exits the vehicle, still talking to him as she walks away.
They then move out of camera range, and continue to argue. She is holding her phone and he yells at her repeatedly to put her phone down. They continue to argue, and a struggle ensues.
The remaining video includes a conversation between Encinia and a supervisor.
Questions have been raised about whether the video was edited before it was released. Read about that here.
The Texas Department of Public Safety acknowledged that there were errors in the video, but said it was not intentionally edited. It then uploaded a new version of the video.
The original video, which was deleted by the DPS, can be watched below:
She was taken to the Waller County Jail and held on $5,000 bail. Her friends said they planned to post her bond on Monday, but she was found dead that morning in her cell.
The Texas Jail Commission said that they have cited the Waller County Jail for failing to properly monitor Bland.
A bystander’s video of the arrest was previously posted onto YouTube. It shows several police officers standing over Bland while she is on the ground, arguing with them about why they’re being so rough. At one point, she can be heard saying, “You just slammed my head into the ground. Do you not even care about that?” She also thanks the man recording the incident for filming as she is led to a police cruiser.
The Waller County Sheriff’s Office says that Bland was found in her cell Monday morning, three days after her arrest. She was “not breathing from what appears to be self-inflicted asphyxiation,” the sheriff’s office said in a press release. Police say the officer who found her started CPR, and EMS was called. She was pronounced dead a short time later.
An autopsy found her cause of death to be suicide by hanging.
Officials said Thursday that Bland used a trash bag to hang herself from a partition separating the bed area and the bathroom, the Houston Chronicle reported.
“Trash bags are a day to day item in the cells,” Sheriff Glenn Smith said at a press conference.
The district attorney says he has no information to suspect foul play. Officials also said video footage did not show anyone entering the cell. On Monday, Waller County officials released the video from inside the jail, showing the outside of her cell prior to her death. Watch that video below:
She had last been seen by guards at 7 a.m., and she talked to them by intercom at 8 a.m. when she was given breakfast.
The case is being investigated by the Texas Rangers and the FBI is assisting. The district attorney said the case is being investigated as a murder, not a suicide.
Read more about Bland and her death at the link below: