On July 13, Sandra Bland was found dead in her jail cell in the Waller County Jail near Houston. Texas authorities are calling the death suicide by asphyxiation in a situation that appears to be suicide. The dashcam video appears to show a heated confrontation between the state trooper and Bland after she was pulled over for failing to signal a lane change.
The video sheds no light on what happened after Bland was taken to the jail. However, it does show the trooper trying to drag Bland from her car. It also shows him drawing his stun gun and threatening to use it; Trooper Brian Encinia is heard telling Bland, “I will light you up.” Once Bland was out of her car, the confrontation continued, out of the camera’s view. However, there is a recording of the audio. Bland swears at the trooper and accuses him of using excessive force. In an affidavit released July 14, Trooper Encinia said he used force “to subdue Bland to the ground.”
The video appears to have several discrepancies. Parts of the video seem to be looped, while the audio portion of the officer’s comments continue uninterrupted. At one point, a car is passing by on the streets. Then it is suddenly gone. Also, there is a tow truck driver who appears, vanishes, then reappears. The Texas Department of Public Safety insists that the video has not been edited. The anomalies are blamed on a technical glitch.
Bland’s family and supporters have questioned whether she should have been arrested at all. There are also questions about the apparent suicide.
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