Cuts in the video and looping footage have raised questions about whether the dashcam recording of the arrest of Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old woman who was found dead in her jail cell after being charged with assaulting a Texas state trooper, was edited.
The Texas Department of Public Safety, which overseas state troopers and released the video on Tuesday, more than a week after Bland died, told the Texas Tribune that the video was not edited, but was “affected” during the upload. DPS Spokesman Tom Vinger said in a statement:
To eliminate any concerns as to the efficacy of the video, DPS previously requested the FBI examine the dash cam and jail video to ensure the integrity of the video,” he wrote. “The entire video was uploaded to include the audio and video of the conversation the trooper had by telephone with his sergeant, which occurred after the arrest. Some of the video that occurred during this conversation was affected in the upload and is being addressed. We are working to repost the dash cam video
The original video was deleted from YouTube. Here is the new video uploaded by the DPS:
The original video can still be watched here:
Journalist Ben Norton was the first to break down the apparent edits in the video on his website, BenNorton.com.
Norton says parts of the video, which is about 53 minutes long, “have clearly been doctored,” before it was uploaded to YouTube by the Department of Public Safety and released to the public.
The video starts with an unrelated traffic stop, and then shows the trooper pulling over Bland and his interaction with her, including her being led out of her vehicle at Taser-point and then brought out of the camera. The apparent edits occur in the second half of the video, starting at about the 25 minute mark, as a tow truck takes Bland’s car, and the trooper talks on the phone with a supervisor. Norton says footage was cut out and looped to correspond with recorded audio of the trooper.
Norton cites several examples, including at the 25:05 mark when a man leaves the two truck, then for 15 seconds walks toward the right of the frame and leave. He appears again at 25:19, disappears and returns again at 25:22. That footage is then repeated.
Also, at 32:37, a white car is seen in the left of the frame. It disappears in the middle of the road, then it drives back into the frame and subsequently turns left. That is then looped several times.
He also points out other apparent edits at the 32:37 mark, 32:49 to 32:59 and at 33:04 to 33:06, and says at 33:08, the same footage from 32:327 is repeated, followed by footage from 33:17.
An award-winning filmmaker agrees with Norton:
The case is being investigated as a homicide, though authorities say it appears Bland died by suicide by hanging herself. Trooper Brian Encinia, who made the initial stop, has been placed on desk duty pending the outcome of the probe by the Texas Rangers and the FBI. A preliminary investigation found Encinia, 30, violated traffic stop and courtesy procedures.
Read more about Encinia at the link below:
Find out more about Bland at the link below: