Texas State Trooper Who Arrested Sandra Bland Indicted for Perjury

The Texas state trooper who arrested 28-year-old Sandra Bland during a routine traffic stop in July 2015 was indicted for perjury charges by a grand jury on Wednesday, and will be fired by the Texas Department of Public Safety. Trooper Brian Encinia was charged with perjury for lying about his confrontation with Bland when he pulled her … Continue reading Texas State Trooper Who Arrested Sandra Bland Indicted for Perjury

Texas DPS Replaces Original Dashcam Video Of Sandra Bland Arrest

The death of Sandra Bland, a woman found hanged in a jail cell three days after her arrest following a minor traffic infraction, has led to video footage of the arrest to fall under heightened scrutiny.

Following the release of dashcam footage capturing Sandra Bland’s traffic stop and controversial arrest, the Texas Department of Public Safety faced a swarm of accusations regarding doctoring of footage when viewers discovered inconsistencies in the video. The Texas DPS has since removed the original footage and replaced it with another video.

In the original footage, there were multiple instances in which video would appear to show looping images while the audio remained continuous. In one section of video around the 25 minute mark, the tow truck driver arriving to remove Bland’s car was seen exiting his truck, leaving the video frame, and then reappearing several times while trooper Brian Encinia continued speaking uninterrupted.

In another section of the video at approximately 32 minutes and 36 seconds into the footage, a white car was shown disappearing in the street and reappearing while the audio of Encinia speaking was uninterrupted.

[RELATED: Sandra Bland Dashcam Footage Appears Edited, Texas DPS Denies Manipulating Footage]

The original video uploaded by the Texas DPS was removed on Wednesday. However, a copy of the original from the YouTube channel of Photography Is Not A Crime is currently available to view and can be seen below:

Texas DPS uploaded a new video in its place, seen below, which is about three minutes shorter and does not show all of the reported errors. Neither video contains a visible time code.

Texas DPS spokesman Tom Vinger stated that the video was not edited and that uploading issues were to blame for the errors in the video.

“The entire video was uploaded to include the audio and video of the conversation the trooper had by telephone with his sergeant, which occurred after the arrest,” Vinger said in a statement. “Some of the video during this conversation was affected in the upload and is being addressed.”

Read more about the Sandra Bland case here.

Sandra Bland Dashcam Footage Appears Edited, Texas DPS Denies Manipulating Footage

Dashcam video of the arrest of Sandra Bland, a woman who was found hanged in her jail cell, is raising even more questions about not only her death, but why Bland was arrested and brought to jail in the first place.

As we have reported, Bland’s death prompted an investigation launched by multiple agencies including the Waller County District Attorney’s Office, The Texas Ranger Division of the state’s Department of Safety and the FBI. Bland was found hanged in a cell at Waller County Jail July 12, where she had been held for three days after an arrest stemming from a traffic stop.

[RELATED: Law Enforcement, FBI Probing Prison Death Of Woman Hanged In Jail Cell]

In the dash-cam video, Bland is reportedly pulled over for failing to signal her lane change.  Bland is clearly aggravated when she is first pulled over. After the officer begins asking her questions about what is wrong, Bland argues with the officer. She also tells the officer that she is not required to say anything to him other than to identify herself.  It should be noted that Bland was correct and that she had no legal obligation to speak to the officer other than to identify herself.

The officer then tells Bland to put out her cigarette, which she refuses to do. Again, Bland is correct when she says that she is in her own vehicle and there is no legal requirement for her to put out the cigarette. But this doesn’t stop the officer from opening her door and demanding Bland exit the vehicle.  At one point he holds his taser at her yelling, “I will light you up if you don’t get out of the car.”

Multiple news agencies, including several local news stations and larger outlets such as NBC, CBS, The Guardian, Time, The Los Angeles Times and CNN, have pointed to several inconsistencies and anomalies within the video, posing the question of whether or not the video released by the Texas Department of Public Safety was edited.

Independent journalist Ben Norton provided several separate clips that appear to show disparities. In one of the clips, “a man leaves the truck in the center of the frame at 25:05. For the next 15 seconds, he walks toward the right of the frame and leaves. At 25:19, he suddenly appears again, promptly disappears, then returns at 25:22. The same footage of him walking is subsequently repeated”:

Norton offered another clip seen below. “This is 33:02-33:12 in the footage released by the Texas Department of Public Safety. A white car enters the frame and disappears twice, returning a third time,” Norton wrote.

“It appears that someone cut footage out and looped part of the video in order to correspond with the recorded audio of Texas state trooper Brian Encinia speaking,” Norton wrote.

[UPDATE: Texas DPS Replaces Original Dashcam Video Of Sandra Bland Arrest]

The Texas Department Of Safety denied that any editing took place. The video inconsistencies were “glitches in the recording” that “occurred when it was uploaded for public viewing,” according to DPS spokesman Tom Vinger.

Already in admitting wrongdoing, the Waller County Sheriff’s Department has acknowledged that traffic stop procedures and courtesy policies were violated. The officer in this video, identified as Brian Encinia, has been assigned to desk duty.

While Bland’s death was originally ruled as a suicide, Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said that the inquiry “is being treated like a murder investigation.” Mathis noted, however, that “It is very much too early to make any kind of determination that this was a suicide or a murder because the investigations are not complete.”

Annabelle Bamforth contributed to this report.

Native American Activist Found Dead In Jail Cell After Failing To Pay Fine

Activists are calling for a private autopsy after a 53-year old man was found dead inside a county jail in Philadelphia, Mississippi on July 14th. On July 9th Rexdale W. Henry, a community activist and member of the Choctaw Nation, was arrested and taken to the Neshoba County Jail in Philadelphia, Miss for failing to … Continue reading Native American Activist Found Dead In Jail Cell After Failing To Pay Fine

Law Enforcement, FBI Probing Prison Death Of Woman Hanged In Jail Cell

The puzzling circumstances surrounding the arrest and subsequent death of Sandra Bland, a woman described by those close to her as an anti-police brutality activist, prompted a comprehensive investigation to be performed by multiple agencies including the Waller County District Attorney’s Office, The Texas Ranger Division of the state’s Department of Safety and the FBI.

Bland was found hanged in a cell at Waller County Jail July 12, where she had been detained for three days for an arrest stemming from a traffic stop. While Bland’s death was originally ruled as a suicide, Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said that the inquiry “is being treated like a murder investigation.” Mathis noted, however, that “It is very much too early to make any kind of determination that this was a suicide or a murder because the investigations are not complete.”

The news of Bland’s death in police custody led to several questions, including why Bland was being held in jail as a result of what began as a traffic stop for not using her turn signal while changing lanes. According to a July 16 Texas DPS news release, Bland was arrested on July 10th during the traffic stop because she “became argumentative and uncooperative” toward police. TxDPS went on to report that Bland was arrested because she assaulted a police officer.

Ross Weidner of ABC7 Chicago tweeted a copy of what appeared to be an affidavit from a Texas DPS trooper, identified as Brian Encinia, alleging that Bland swung her elbows at the trooper and kicked his shin.

NBC News reported that the traffic stop appeared to escalate beyond a routine incident when Bland was ordered by an officer to put out her cigarette. Cannon Lambert, a lawyer for Bland’s family, said that he saw the dash cam video and Bland disagreed with the order. “Why do I have to put out a cigarette when I’m in my own car?” Lambert quoted Bland as saying to police. Lambert said that the officer “then looked to force her to get out of the car by way of opening the door and started demanding that she do.” Bland reportedly attempted to take video of the incident with her phone, but exited her vehicle when a Taser was pointed at her.

[UPDATE: Texas DPS Replaces Original Dashcam Video Of Sandra Bland Arrest]

A July 17 TxDPS release acknowledged that “In the preliminary review of the traffic stop that occurred in Prairie View on July 10, 2015, involving Sandra Bland, we have identified violations of the department’s procedures regarding traffic stops and the department’s courtesy policy.” The officer involved has been moved to administrative duty.

Police dashboard video of the traffic stop is expected to be released Tuesday according to NBC News, and TxDPS stated that video footage related to Bland’s case will be released to the public following forensic analysis. A YouTube video purported to be witness footage of part of Bland’s traffic stop can be seen below.

Brian Cantrell, the head of the criminal investigation division for Waller County Sheriff’s Office, claimed that Bland’s death was a suicide. “I want to make clear that the death of Ms. Bland was a tragic incident, not one of criminal intent or a criminal act,” Cantrell said. According to Cantrell, Bland strangled herself with a plastic bag.

Cantrell’s claim was quickly disputed by friends and family of Bland, who asserted that Bland was not suicidal. Family members said that Bland had recently started relocating from Illinois to Texas to take a new job at Prairie View A&M University. One family member reported Bland being “in good spirits” while waiting to be released from Waller County Jail.

This story has been updated to include information from the Twitter account of ABC7’s Ross Weidner.