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Video reveals hostile turn in Sandra Bland traffic stop

A police dashboard camera recording has been released of the interaction between Texas State Trooper Brian Encinia and the woman he pulled over, Sandra Bland, who was arrested and then found dead in a jail cell days later. Gwen Ifill reports.

Read the Full Transcript

  • GWEN IFILL:

    There are new developments in the case of Sandra Bland, the woman who was found dead in a Texas jail three days after being arrested for a routine traffic violation.

    The full video of the arrest recorded from the police officer’s dashboard camera cast new light on the arrest as her family searches for answers.

  • BRIAN ENCINIA, Texas State Trooper:

    OK, ma’am.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    The video shows state trooper Brian Encinia approaching Sandra Bland’s car on July 10 in Waller County, Texas. He pulled her over for failing to signal a lane change.

  • BRIAN ENCINIA:

    You seem very irritated.

  • SANDRA BLAND:

    I am. I really am, because of what I’ve been stopped and am getting a ticket for. I was getting out of your way. You were speeding up, tailing me, so I move over and you stop me. So, yes, I am a little irritated.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    The dispute escalated when Encinia asked Bland to put out her cigarette. She refused, and he ordered her out of the car.

  • SANDRA BLAND:

    I don’t have to step out of my car.

  • BRIAN ENCINIA:

    Step out of the car.

    (CROSSTALK)

  • SANDRA BLAND:

    No, you don’t have the right.

    (CROSSTALK)

  • BRIAN ENCINIA:

    Step out of the car.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Encinia threatened to drag Bland out. She refused. Then he pulled his Taser.

  • BRIAN ENCINIA:

    Get out of car! I will light you up! Get out!

  • SANDRA BLAND:

    Wow.

  • BRIAN ENCINIA:

    Now!

  • SANDRA BLAND:

    Wow.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    The two can still be heard yelling as the incident continued outside the dashboard camera’s range, as a second officer apparently arrived on the scene.

    But a bystander filmed this video with a smartphone, in which an upset Bland can be heard saying the officer threw her to the ground. The trooper has been placed on administrative leave. Police officials said he violated traffic stop procedures. Bland was found dead in her jail cell three days later.

    Authorities said she hanged herself with a plastic garbage bag. But family and friends disputed that finding. Jailhouse video released Monday showed no officers near her cell for 90 minutes before emergency technicians wheeled in a stretcher. Waller County’s district attorney now say Bland’s death is being treated like a murder investigation.

    Today, Bland’s body was flown back to her home outside Chicago, where she will be buried Saturday. Her family spoke this afternoon.

  • SHARON COOPER, Sister of Sandra Bland:

    She was pulled over for something so insignificant, and because of an officer who felt like maybe his ego was bruised and got in the way.

    Not once did he ever say he felt threatened. But when you tell me that you’re going to light me up, I feel extremely threatened and concerned, and I’m not going to get out of my car.

  • CANNON LAMBERT, Bland Family Attorney:

    We want the answers, and Sandy demands them. And we will find them.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Texas Governor Greg Abbott, in a statement today, said: “The family deserves answers. The Texas Rangers, working in coordination with the FBI, will conduct a full and thorough investigation and work toward the goal of ensuring justice in this case.”

    The roughly-50-minute dash cam video released late yesterday drew criticism for apparent jump-cuts, which led to charges that it had been edited. The Texas Department of Public Safety denied that accusation, and said the glitches occurred when the recording was uploaded for public viewing. A second, corrected version of the video was released this afternoon.

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