Sandra Bland Speaks Through Own Arrest Video

Family claims evidence was withheld
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 7, 2019 6:21 AM CDT
Updated May 7, 2019 6:56 AM CDT

Family members are calling to reopen a criminal investigation into Sandra Bland's death in a Texas jail cell with the surfacing of her own arrest video. Bland, who was found to have committed suicide three days after the July 2015 arrest in Waller County, is heard asking a state trooper why she is being apprehended as he orders her out of her car. He finally aims a stun gun at her at close range, shouting, "Get out of the car! I will light you up!" "All this for a failure to signal," responds Bland, 28. Family members, who received $1.9 million in settling a wrongful death suit, say the 39-second video supports their claims of withheld evidence. Their former lawyer, Cannon Lambert, argues the video obtained by the nonprofit news group Investigative Network and shared with WFAA after the criminal investigation wrapped was not produced during the case's confidential discovery phase.

The Texas Department of Public Safety counters that "a hard drive … including the dashcam videos, jail video footage and data from Sandra Bland's cell phone, was part of discovery." Either way, Bland's sister says the content disputes trooper Brian Encinia's claim that his "safety was in jeopardy." The video "not only shows that [Encinia] lied, but that he really had no business even stopping [Bland], period," says Shante Needham. "He needs to go to jail." Lambert says Encinia—who saw perjury charges dropped after he agreed to never again work in law enforcement, per Fox News—at least knew Bland wasn't a threat. "What did she do to make him feel his safety was in jeopardy? Nothing," he tells WFAA. A lawyer for Encinia, however, says dashcam footage showed Bland "reach out of view on the passenger side. That is the impetus to get her out of the car." (More Sandra Bland stories.)

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