When Sandra Bland died in police custody in Texas, I said, “This is it. This is the case that’s going blow the lid off of police brutality against black people.”
Bland was killed on July 13, 2015. I was wrong.
The official report says that Bland had killed herself. That she hanged herself in her cell with a plastic bag. Obvious first question, why did she have a plastic bag in her cell?
The Texas Department of Public Safety initially released an obviously edited version of Bland’s traffic stop. The DPS got caught on that and released another version of it.
In the video, Texas State Trooper Brian Encinia pulled Bland over because she allegedly failed to use her turn signal. While interacting with Bland, Encinia repeatedly violated her rights.
First Encinia told Bland to put out her cigarette. She refused, stating that she was in her car and she doesn’t need to put out her cigarette. Bland was correct. Encinia then told her to get out of the car because he was arresting her for not following a lawful order. Bland refused and demanded to know why she was being arrested. Bland was correct in asking that question multiple times. Encinia’s commands were not lawful.
As Encinia got more agitated, he threatened to taser her if she didn’t get out of the car. That’s an improper use of a taser. Tasers are NOT supposed to be used for “pain compliance” – that’s called torture. If a suspect is not following orders, and the officer doesn’t feel they can handle it, they call for backup.
Encinia unlawfully physically pulled Bland from her vehicle and slammed her hard onto the ground. Video of the incident shows Bland screaming and crying.
So Bland was illegally arrested and thrown in a jail cell. Her rights were violated numerous times during this entire ordeal. Then on July 13, Bland was found dead in her cell. According to police, they have video of the jail cell and do not show anyone going in or out. Unfortunately, the cops in Texas had already published a doctored dash cam video of the incident, so their credibility is garbage, plus, they’re the suspects in her death.
A neighboring county forensic investigator said that the story the Waller County Sheriffs Department was telling was inconsistent with the facts regarding the condition of Bland’s body. Also, there’s a discrepancy in when Waller County guards said they observed Bland in her cell and the video of her cell. It’s a discrepancy of an hour that is unaccounted for.
Bland’s family did get a cash settlement for $1.9 million. Well, her mother was awarded that amount, it’s not clear she has received it yet. But her daughter is dead and the police couldn’t stop lying about what happened and justice for her apparent murder has not been served.
Encinia was charged with perjury over this case. The charge was dismissed if he agreed to never work in law enforcement ever again.
Bland’s birthday is February 7, 1987. She would have been 32 this year – 2018.
Related stories about Sandra Bland’s death
Transcript of Sandra Bland’s Traffic Stop
Sandra Bland’s Rights Violated Before She Died
Sandra Bland’s Mother: “This Means War”
Sandra Bland: Arrest Video Edited
Links and information related to Sandra Bland’s Death