As promised last week, the Texas Department of Public Safety released the dashcam video of Sandra Bland’s arrest to the public, and what it shows is causing many people to further doubt the police department’s version of events that lead to her July 13, 2015, death.
The 52-minute video shows Bland, 28, being pulled over by state trooper Brian Encinia on July 10, 2015, for what he said was a failure to use her signal when she switched lanes. After taking her license to his car, he returned and said, “You seem very irritated.”
She replied, “I am, I really am. I feel like it’s crap what I’m getting a ticket for. I was getting out of your way. You were speeding up, tailing me. So I moved over and you stopped me. So yeah, I am a little irritated, but that doesn’t stop you from giving me a ticket.”
He then said, “Do you mind putting out your cigarette, please? If you don’t mind.”
When she replied, “I’m in my car, why do I have to put out my cigarette?” he quickly replied, “Well you can step on out now.”
When she told him he didn’t have the right to make her leave her vehicle, he opened the door and threatened to remove her. “I’m going to yank you out of here. Get out!” he yelled. When Bland said, “Don’t touch me. I’m not under arrest and you don’t have the right to take me out of my car,” he said she was under arrest.
“Get out of the car! I will light you up!” he said, while pointing a Taser at her. She complied and he took her to the side of the road, out of camera range, where they continued to argue and he cuffed her.
The video also captured a conversation he had about the arrest with a supervisor, in which he said:
I tried to de-escalate her, and it wasn’t working at all. I put the Taser away, I tried talking to her, trying to calm her down, and that was not working.… I’m trying to get her detained…just calm her down, saying, “Stop throwing your arms,” whatnot. She never swung at me, [she was] just flailing, stomping around. And that’s enough, that’s when I detained her.
But in the Affidavit and Complaint for Warrant of Arrest and Detention that he filed, Encinia wrote, “Bland began swinging her elbows at me and then kicked my right leg in the shin.” This is a clear departure from the way he had previously described the arrest. Encinia was placed on administrative duty last week, and the department said that he violated the “department’s procedures regarding traffic stops and the department’s courtesy policy.”
In addition, the video appears to have been edited, as evidenced by looped footage of cars passing through the shot multiple times and even disappearing at times, which suggests that it’s possible portions of the arrest are being kept under wraps. Click here for a detailed account of the detected edits. Academy Award nominated director Ava DuVernay even weighed in on the video.
I edit footage for a living. But anyone can see that this official video has been cut. Read/watch. Why? #SandraBland http://t.co/2JXy9Zc4Y3
— Ava DuVernay (@AVAETC) July 22, 2015
When NBC News asked Texas Department of Public Safety spokesperson Tom Vinger about the edits, he said, “I will have to check in the morning. I can’t speculate without looking at the CD.”
Watch the video for yourself below.