Most of us who have seen the dash cam video of Sandra Bland’s arrest in Texas four years ago knew she was recording as she was being dragged out the car by a deputy who did not like her attitude.
After all, she had to remind Texas state trooper Brian Encinia she had the right to record after he ordered her to put the phone down.
Three days later, she was found hanging in her cell in a death ruled a suicide.
Not only did her video never surface during the ensuing investigation, indictment and lawsuits that netted the family almost $2 million, the lawyer for Bland’s family said he’d never seen it during the discovery process.
And that would indicate an attempt at a coverup, which is not surprising in a case like this where Encinia tried to chase away a witness with a camera during Bland’s arrest and jailers admitted to falsifying logs in the jail where she was found dead.
Not to mention that Encinia was charged with perjury in a case that was dismissed on the condition he never seek another law enforcement job again.
So it should not be too farfetched to believe investigators intentionally hid the video from the public for four years, only releasing it after a joint journalistic investigation by Dallas news station WFAA and Investigative Network, a nonprofit news organization based in Texas.
According to WFAA:
Bland’s family said they never saw the video before and now call for Texas officials to re-examine the criminal case against the trooper who arrested Bland, which sparked outrage across the country.
“Open up the case, period,” said Bland’s sister Shante Needham said when shown the video.
Needham and other Bland family members believe the video was intentionally withheld.
“We also know they have an extremely, extremely good cover-up system,” Needham said.
Texas Department of Public Safety officials declined an on-camera interview but said the video was not withheld.
“The premise that the video was not produced as a part of the discovery process is wrong,” DPS said in a statement. “A hard drive containing copies of 820 Gigabytes of data compiled by DPS from its investigation, including the dashcam videos, jail video footage and data from Sandra Bland’s cell phone, was part of discovery.”
But attorney Cannon Lambert said that is a lie.
“If they had turned it over, I would have seen it, Brian. I’ve not seen that,” Lambert said when shown the video in his Chicago law office.
The 39-second video captures the same verbal exchange the dashcam did but from inside the car beginning with the cop ordering her out of the car and Bland inquiring why she needs to step out of the car over a minor traffic violation.
In a fit of rage, Encinia pulls out his taser and threatens her with it.
“Get out of the car or I will light you up,” he screams.
She steps out of the car and the deputy orders her to put away the phone.
“I’m not on the phone,” she replies. “I have a right to record. This is my property.”
But she lays the phone down on the trunk of the car where the video . shuts off.
Encinia’s dashcam continues recording but both the deputy and Bland are out of frame with her telling him she was looking for her day in court because she knew he was in the wrong.
A female cop arrives and piles on Bland along with Encinia when the witness with the phone begins recording.
Encinia notices him and tells him he needs to leave. The man continues recording for a little longer before stopping.
The three videos have been edited into one video which is posted above. Watch the original full video here.