New footage from Sandra Bland’s traffic stop has caused her family to demand answers.
On Monday night (May 6), Dallas TV news station WFAA released new cell phone footage from the 2015 arrest of Sandra Bland, reports The Root.
The release of the 39-second video was a collaborative effort between WFAA and the Investigative Network.
The video shows Texas state trooper Brian Encinia aggressively demanding Bland to get out of her car while she questions the justification of him doing so.
“Why am I being apprehended?” Bland asked Encinia while recording their interaction for her own safety. “Get out of the car now!” Encinia yells prior to pointing a taser at Bland. “I will light you up!”
Sandra Bland, 28, was eventually removed from her vehicle and arrested. She was initially pulled over for failing to signal before changing lanes.
Bland was found dead in her Waller County jail cell in Greater Houston three days later. Her death was ruled as a suicide.
Encinia’s dashcam video was believed to be the only existing recording of the infamous traffic stop that took place in July 2015, according to The Washington Post.
“My safety was in jeopardy at more than one time,” Encinia told investigators, but the newly released video doesn’t show that.
Bland’s attorney and family are just now seeing the footage and they believe that it was intentionally withheld.
They would like for Texas officials to re-examine Encinia’s criminal case.
“Open up the case, period,” Shante Needham, Bland’s sister, said after watching the video. “We also know they have an extremely, extremely good cover-up system.”
The Texas Department of Public Safety declined an on-camera interview with WFAA but released a statement.
“The premise that the video was not produced as a part of the discovery process is wrong. 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,” was said in the statement.
Cannon Lambert, Bland’s family’s attorney denies that the footage was available.
“I’ve not seen it,” said Lambert, when shown the video by Brian Collister, chief reporter with the Investigative Network. “If they had turned it over, I would have seen it, Brian. I’ve not seen that.”
“He sees exactly what’s in her hand,” Lambert added, referencing Bland’s cell phone that was recording at the time. “How can you tell me you don’t know what’s in her hand when you’re looking right dead at it? What did she do to make him feel his safety was in jeopardy? Nothing.”
State Rep. Garnet Coleman also released a statement following the release of Bland’s cell phone 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. The illegal withholding of evidence by one side from the other destroys our legal system’s ability to produce fair and just outcomes. As Chair of the House Committee on County Affairs that looked into the death of Sandra Bland, I will make sure that the Committee will also look into how this happened.”
Although Sandra Bland’s family settled a wrongful death suit against Waller County and Texas DPS in 2016 for $1.9million, no indictments were made against Waller county law enforcement.