Thursday, May 9, 2019

Sandra Bland's video of Texas traffic stop, released posthumously this week, shows officer lied about threat to his safety and likely lacked grounds to arrest

Sandra Bland, the black motorist who died of an apparent suicide in a Texas jail three days after being arrested in a dubious traffic stop, took her own video of the stop, according to news reports this week. The Bland video raises new questions about the nature of her death and adds to the mountain of evidence that suggests law-enforcement officers are among the most dishonest people on earth.

My wife, Carol, and I have firsthand experience with that, from our unlawful eviction that ended with Missouri deputies breaking Carol's arm -- and then alleging SHE had assaulted one of them, even though the officer in question, Jeremy Lynn, admitted he initiated physical contact with Carol, not the other way around. That meant, as a matter of Missouri law, Carol could not possibly have assaulted a law enforcement officer. But Greene County Judge Jerry Harmison, in a farce of a bench trial, found her guilty anyway.

In retrospect, Carol probably was fortunate to come out of the incident alive. Sandra Bland was not so fortunate -- and the video she took shines new light on her experience. From a report at The New York Times:

Ms. Bland, a 28-year-old African-American from the Chicago area, was taken into custody in southeast Texas following the confrontational 2015 traffic stop and was found hanging in a jail cell three days later in what was officially ruled a suicide. The case, which drew international attention, intensified outrage over the treatment of black people by white police officers and was considered a turning point in the Black Lives Matter movement.

The video surfaced for the first time publicly Monday night in an investigative report on the Dallas television station WFAA that included interviews with Ms. Bland’s family and supporters, who accused officials of concealing information that they said should have been made public early in the investigation.

The authorities released the trooper’s dash-cam video days after Ms. Bland’s death, but Ms. Bland’s own recording was never made public — except, it appears, to lawyers and investigators involved in the case. The Texas Department of Public Safety said in a statement that the video recording was referred to “multiple times” in its investigative report on the Bland case and was released to the WFAA reporter in response to a public records request. The video “has in no way been concealed by the department,” the statement said.

The 39-second video from Bland's cell phone can be viewed at the top of this post. The full WFAA report can be viewed at the end of this post.

Why is the Bland video important? The Times explains:

The images aired Monday night marked the first time that most people had seen the traffic encounter as Ms. Bland had seen it: a close-up view of the face of the state trooper, Brian T. Encinia, contorting in anger as he pulled out a stun gun and shouted at her to get out of the car. 
“I’m going to light you up!” he yelled, his voice growing hoarse. 
State Representative Garnet Coleman, an African-American lawmaker who chairs the State House’s County Affairs Committee, which conducted statewide hearings following Ms. Bland’s death, said on Tuesday that he plans to call legislative hearings before the current session adjourns on May 27 to look into why the newly surfaced video was not made generally available to the public until now. 
“It is very disturbing to those who have followed the case of Sandra Bland,” he said.

A lawyer for the Bland family takes it several steps further:

Cannon Lambert, a lawyer who represents the Bland family, said he had not seen the video until it was shown to him by the television journalist. “I immediately called my co-counsel and asked whether he had seen it, and he hadn’t seen it either,” he said.

Mr. Lambert said the video, by showing Ms. Bland with a cellphone in her hand, seriously undercut the trooper’s claim that he feared for his safety as he approached the woman’s vehicle.

“What the video shows is that Encinia had no reason to be in fear of his safety,” Mr. Lambert, who represented the family in a $1.9 million legal settlement, said in a telephone interview. “The video shows that he wasn’t in fear of his safety. You could see that it was a cellphone, he was looking right at it.”

Mr. Encinia said during internal interviews with Department of Public Safety officials that he had been worried about his safety. “My safety was in jeopardy at more than one time,” he told department interviewers.

The Bland video shows the officer lied. Our experience with thug cops in Missouri indicates lying is second nature for many of them.

(To be continued)


Anonymous said...

Cops should be forced to wear a placard around their necks that say: "I was too stupid to get a job at Burger King, so I became a cop."

legalschnauzer said...

@7:25 --

Hah! Good one. I suspect it takes quite a bit of brainpower to work at Burger King, compared to being a cop. You've got to prepare orders, keep them straight, ring folks up, keep the food preparation area clean enough to pass inspections. Does anyone inspect the work of cops? Hardly ever.

Anonymous said...

Such a tragedy. This woman's death was so unnecessary. No way she ever should have been in police custody.

Anonymous said...

I don't know that Ms. Bland was murdered, but she clearly died in police custody, and I doubt it was a suicide. She probably died from an accident or negligence, with the hanging staged as part of a cover-up. Horrible story, and I feel greatly for the Bland family.

Anonymous said...

Didn't the thugs in Missouri try to claim Carol broke her own arm?

legalschnauzer said...

@8:42 --

Oh, yes, that might have been their most outrageous lie of all.

First, Carol was handcuffed and seat-belted when placed in the back of the patrol car so she hardly could move. One of the cops admitted in court she "might have been seat-belted." There is no "might have" about it. She was seat-belted, and Carol testified to that.

Second, if you look at the X-ray of Carol's arm and read up on comminuted fractures, it appears to be an injury that is impossible to inflict on oneself. They tend to come from trauma, such as in a car crash.

That Missouri cops came up with such an outrageous tale indicates they are not only stupid liars, they are shameless, too.

Medical records prove the cops were lying:

legalschnauzer said...

From one of several posts we've written about Carol's injury:

Into how many pieces did Carol's arm break? We have posted X-rays that show at least three distinct pieces. Members of her treatment team told us her injury involved a pulverizing action that left a large number of tiny bone fragments. Some of these were preserved and put back into place for healing, others had to be washed away. It's likely that Carol's bone broke into several dozen pieces; we just don't know. We do know that it was much worse than a spiral fracture.

We also know this type of injury is not seen very often. People hurt themselves from banging into stuff all the time. They don't hurt themselves this way very often; this kind of injury is inflicted upon them:

Distal humerus fractures are uncommon; they account for just about 2 percent of all adult fractures. They can occur on their own, with no other injuries, but can also be a part of a more complex elbow injury.

A "more complex elbow injury?" Yes, the kind where a thuggish cop almost rips your arm off at the elbow -- and then his colleagues lie about it.

Anonymous said...

I hope someone reinstates the perjury charge against the cop in Sandra Bland case.

legalschnauzer said...

Here is a story from Columbia Journalism Review about how the Sandra Bland video came to light:

Anonymous said...

I think there is a secret vigilante political police surveillance program that operates under DOJ'S COMMUNITY POLICING PROGRAM (Snowden power point slide).

That's what I fear has been used to COINTELPRO Roger and his wife across state lines in which common tactics include:

--ruining careers to reduce targets' income;
--deploying violent goons who live next door and monitor the happenings in the target's home, "what is entrapment under The War Comm Act 2006?";

--foot, vehicle, electronic surveillance across state lines during an infinite indefinite time period with possible remote neural monitoring and use of psychotronics to entrap, harass, etc;
--abuse of anti terrorism laws with open ended definitions of "terrorism" to include "political dissent", "espousing civil rights", and "criticizing the government.