Newly Surfaced Cellphone Footage Reveals Sandra Bland Recorded Her July 2015 Traffic Stop
Family members are demanding the case be reopened.
New cellphone footage recorded by Sandra Bland during her July 2015 police encounter has surfaced.
The video obtained by local Dallas, Texas, news station WFAA captured former State Trooper Brian Encinia pulling a Taser on Bland for allegedly not signaling. In the 39-second clip, Encinia opened the door of the 28-year-old motorist's car and told her to leave the vehicle after she refused to put out a cigarette.
“Get out of the car! I will light you up," he yelled while pulling out his Taser. "Get out!”
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Bland complied, as indicated by the footage then walked over to the sidewalk and continued to record the incident. Near the mid-point of the clip, Encinia demanded Bland put the phone down while he kept the Taser pointed at her.
“I’m not on the phone," Bland said defending herself. "I have a right to record. This is my property.”
Then, the video abruptly ends.
Bland, a Chicago resident, was in the Houston area interviewing for a job with her alma mater, Prairie View A&M. She was arrested and found dead, hanging in her jail cell three days following the arrest. The video is new to the Bland family; footage was reportedly found by a reporter with the Investigative Network. Family members believe the recent release of the clip is a sign of a cover-up.Blavitize your inbox! Join our daily newsletter for fresh stories and breaking news.
Cannon Lambert, an attorney for the Bland family, also said he did not see the video before it was obtained by WFAA. According to The Associated Press, Democratic state Rep. Garnet Coleman, the driving force behind the 2017 “Sandra Bland Act,” plans on opening a probe into why Bland's family did not see the footage.
“It is troubling that a crucial piece of evidence was withheld from Sandra Bland’s family and legal team in their pursuit of justice,” Coleman said in a statement.
However, the police are pushing back against claims of a cover-up. Katherine Cesigner, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said all parties had access to footage and in discovery when the case went to trial.
“The premise that the video was not produced as a part of the discovery process is wrong,” the 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.”
Since the police encounter four years ago, Encinia was fired and will not be allowed to work as a police officer again. Bland's family settled lawsuits against the state and Waller County jail totaling $2 million.
Watch the footage below:
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