Update: Following controversy, suspicion, and questions over Texas Department of Security (TDS) publishing an edited version of the Sandra Bland dashcam traffic stop video on July 21 (which TDS officials attributed to “technical difficulties”), TDS removed the edited version from its website and uploaded the unedited footage on July 22. The “new” footage is provided below.
The Texas Department of Public Safety has released the 52 minute dashcam video of the traffic stop that led to the arrest of 28 year-old Sandra Bland. The video adds more context to the short clip uploaded by a passerby, that records the moments after Bland was manhandled to the ground.
Cue the video at 2:20 to see the beginning of arrest.
According to NBC News, DPS Director Steven McCraw offered the following statement
“DPS has been working closely with the family of Ms. Bland during this investigation, and the department extends our sincere condolences for their tragic loss”
State officials spoke at a news conference held just before the dashcam footage was made public. NBC reports that state Sen. Royce West said
“Once you see what occurred, you will probably agree with me that she shouldn’t have been taken into custody”
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick added:
“There’s a tragedy that happened here. Regardless of who’s at fault at the end, a young lady lost her life. That’s always a tragedy.”
Bland was pulled over in her silver Hyundai Azera on July 10 for failing to properly signal a lane change. What was supposed to be a routine stop for a minor traffic violation escalated into a confrontation that led to state trooper Brian Encinia threatening to use his taser on Bland for refusing to step out her vehicle.
“I am going to yank you of here,” Encina says, growing frustrated with Bland.
Only after Encina said “Get out of the car! I will light you up” did Bland exit the vehicle. Subsequent reports have concluded that Encina did behave “improperly” and violated “department procedures regarding traffic stops” and “courtesy policy.”
Bland was given a $5,000 bond and jailed for 3 days. She was found dead early morning, July 13. The official autopsy determined “self-inflicted asphyxiation” as the cause of death, or apparent suicide. However, according to NBC, local officials are investigating the tragedy as a homicide. This is the routine procedure of all cases involving the death of an inmate in police custody.
Solicited for help, the FBI and Department of Justice have joined the investigation.
Bland was an advocate of the BlackLivesMatter movement who spoke out against racism in her SandySpeaks videos. Like Rekia Boyd and Kindra Chapman, Bland’s death cuts against the national grain, in that, unlike the majority of high profiled incidents at the center of scrutiny concerning police violence against black men, the focus here is unapologetically on black women.