Investigation Into The Death Of Sandra Bland Underway
17 July 2015No Comments
A young woman, Sandra Bland, was arrested by Waller County Texas Police after a confrontation between Bland and the officer during a routine traffic stop. A few days later, Bland was found dead in her jail cell under the custody of Waller County Police. A dash cam video recorded state trooper Briana Encinia pulling over Bland for failure to use a turning signal after switching lanes on University Drive in Prairie View, Texas.
The video released shows Officer Encinia losing his temper with Bland, a black citizen, after she refuses to put out her cigarette after being asked to do so, and refuses to exit her Hyundai after the officer tells her to do so. “Get out of the car, now!” he shouts at Bland before opening the car door, grabbing her and trying to force her out. He is seen threatening to use his Taser on her to get her to come out. “I will light you up!” he shouts.
According to the arrest report, Encinia said Bland became “combative” with him after he pulled her over for an improper lane change. “Bland began swinging her elbows at me and then kicked my right leg in the shin,” Encinia wrote in the report. “I had a pain in my right leg and suffered small cuts on my right hand. Force was used to subdue Bland to the ground to which Bland continued to fight back.”
Texas District Attorney Elton Mathis stated that after viewing the video, Bland was not “compliant” with Encinia’s directions. “Sandra Bland was very combative. It was not a model traffic stop. It was not a model person that was stopped,” Mathis said.
Two Texas lawmakers said Sandra Bland should have never been arrested after watching the video of the traffic stop taken from the Texas Department of Public Safety trooper’s car that was shown in a closed door meeting with Waller County officials before being released to the public.
“I think that once you see what occurred, you will probably agree with me she did not deserve to be placed in custody,” said state Senator Royce West.
Three days after the arrest, Bland was found hanged to death in Waller County Jail. Her death has sparked outrage in Texas, nationwide, and worldwide as what many believe to be another case of white police harassment on a black citizen. Encinia has been put on administrative duty in Houston. He was reassigned after his superiors viewed the patrol car video.
Originally, Bland’s death was ruled a suicide. She had marijuana in her system and a history of depression and previous suicidal acts. However, after a high-profile group of Texas state leaders viewed the video captured of outside the jail cell where Bland was confined and the arrest video, the case is going to the grand jury to decide whether Bland was murdered or died from self-inflicted causes.