Earlier this week, footage surfaced from Sandra Bland’s cell phone of her vantage point of the arrest that lead to her death in 2015. Many people were outraged and hoped the case would be reopened. Sadly, the case will not be reopened.
The Chronicle reports, “Special prosecutor Pheobe Smith, who had access to the video when state Trooper Brian Encinia was indicted on a perjury charge, said she did not plan to re-open the criminal case. It was dismissed in 2017.” Yep, Smith knew the video existed, which clearly shows that Encinia did not fear for his life, which was the reason why he claimed to he made Bland get out of the the car.
The Chronicle also reports, “Family attorney Cannon Lambert said Wednesday that the video would have not have affected the civil case. He recovered the maximum possible amount from the Department of Public Safety in the settlement, he said, a total $1.9 million.” However, he did believe the video should have been enough to criminally prosecute Encinia, sadly, the powers that be in Texas felt like it wasn’t enough.
The disturbing footage was made public by WFAA late Monday night and local police had allegedly been concealing for nearly four years.
Initial body cam footage showed the arresting officer getting belligerent after Bland demanded to know why she was being arrested, let alone removed from her vehicle, for the minor traffic infraction of changing lanes without a turn signal. The video from 2015 went viral and showed the cop violently threatening Bland with his Taser: “I will light you up!”
After seeing the newly surfaced video, Bland’s family was demanding justice years after it had been denied to them.
“Open up the case, period,” Shante Needham, Bland’s sister, said to WFAA after she saw the video on Monday, prompting her to suspect the Waller Police Department was complicit in her sister’s death. “We also know they have an extremely, extremely good cover-up system.”
The Texas Department of Public Safety denied it had withheld any evidence.
“The premise that the video was not produced as a part of the discovery process is wrong,” the agency told WFAA in a brief statement. “A hard drive containing copies of 820 Gigabytes of data compiled by DPS from its investigation, including the dashcam videos, jail video footage and data from Sandra Bland’s cell phone, was part of discovery.”
Earlier this year, another Black inmate was also found dead after apparently hanging himself in the same Texas jail where Bland died, prompting further questions about the facility.
See below for the recently revealed footage from 2015 that Bland filmed of her own arrest.
Rest in power, Sandra Bland.