HOUSTON – Cell phone video released today recorded by Sandra Bland during her 2015 traffic stop shows her perspective of part of her interaction with a Texas Department of Safety officer. The footage shows an encounter where State Trooper Brian Encinia points a taser gun at Bland as she records his actions. Bland was subsequently arrested, charged with assault on a public servant, and booked into Waller County jail, where, three days later, she was found dead in her cell “not breathing from what appears to be self-inflicted asphyxiation,” per a statement from the Waller County Sheriff’s Office.
“In a time where public transparency and trust in law enforcement is at its breaking point, the Texas Department of Public Safety should have immediately and voluntarily released Sandra Bland’s phone recording to the public,” said Andre Segura, legal director for the ACLU of Texas. “Recording an officer is a constitutional right; not a crime warranting threats. This new video presents Ms. Bland’s own view of the officer’s severe misconduct, including needlessly escalating the situation, misuse of a taser gun, and threatening language. Most importantly, it shows that Ms. Bland was not engaging in dangerous behavior. Sandra Bland should still be alive today. We must continue to hold agencies accountable to the very public they swore to protect.”