“I Will Light You Up”: Sandra Bland’s Horrifying Arrest Revealed

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Last night, the Texas Department of Public Safety released dash cam video of Sandra Bland‘s arrest during a routine traffic stop in Prairie View on July 10. In the video, the police officer who arrested Bland, Brian T. Encinia, is seen threatening her with a Taser and violently forcing her to the ground, ignoring her protests of pain.

The DPS video is below. (Warning: The video contains violence and offensive language.)

UPDATE: The original video posted by DPS on its YouTube account has been taken down in response to allegations that the video was edited. Here is DPS’s official response to the allegations. In the meantime, an abbreviated version of the video from Time is below instead.

Time summarized the worst parts of the video:

“Around two minutes into the 52-minute video, Bland changes lanes without signaling, and the police officer pulls her over. After several minutes while the officer sits in his cruiser, presumably going over paperwork, he returns to the vehicle to find Bland is upset.

“You seem very irritated,” he says. She responds by saying that she only changed lanes because she felt the officer was speeding up behind her.

The officer then asks Bland to put out her cigarette, and when she refuses, he orders her to step out of her car. When she refuses, he opens her car door and orders her repeatedly to step out, while she argues that she did nothing wrong.

The encounter soon turns physical.

“Step out or I will remove you,” he says repeatedly. “Get out of the car now, or I’m going to remove you. I’m going to yank you out of here.”

The officer can then be seen reaching into the car. It’s unclear exactly what happens inside the car but the two tussle, then the officer pulls out what appears to be a Taser and Bland leaves the car. The two continue arguing, with Bland shouting she “can’t wait until we go to court” and using salty language to insult the officer.

Several key moments happen off camera, such as when the officer puts handcuffs on Bland and when the two tussle again on the sidewalk.

As two other officers arrive on scene, the police officer tells them that Bland tried to yank away and then kicked him so he “took her straight to the ground.”

“Well one thing for sure it’s on video,” one of the other officers says.”

The video released by DPS may not even show the whole story–there are alreadyallegations that the 52-minute video has been doctored, with footage cut out and replaced with generic loops. The content of the DPS video is horrifying enough; it’s sickening to think that there could be even worse footage out there.

Texas Democrats have been reacting strongly to the tragedy that happened in their backyard. Last Friday, State Senator Rodney Ellis of Houston wrote a letter to the Justice Department requesting that they monitor the investigation into Bland’s death.

rodney ellis letter

The ACLU of Texas wrote a letter to the Waller County Sheriff’s Office demanding accountability and justice:

“From its inception as a traffic stop to its tragic conclusion, there is so much about this incident that needs to be explained to the good people of Waller County,” said Terri Burke, executive director of the ACLU of Texas. “Given the county’s notorious history of disenfranchising black residents and of police practices that disproportionately impact communities of color, it is hardly surprising that county officials have lost the public’s trust. We are calling upon Sheriff Glenn Smith to rebuild that public trust by conducting a transparent investigation and holding responsible actors fully accountable.”

View the letter.

The Waller County District Attorney has said that Bland’s death is being investigated as a murder, and will go to a grand jury. Let’s hope they do the right thing, because Sandra Bland deserves justice.


About Author

Katie Singh

Katie grew up in Austin and has been involved in Texas politics since 2004. She has been a part of several campaigns, from state house races to working at President Obama's campaign headquarters in 2012. She loves public policy, public health, and tacos. Katie tweets from @kasingh19.

1 Comment

  1. Over 3,500 Texas DPS Employees, Officers still on a daily basis,ILLEGALLY and FELONIOUSLY, refer to themselves–vebally and writing–as the “Texas State Police.” Yet there’s NO such entity ever created or budget- funded (required by law) from the TX Legislature. The 1935 Act starting the DPS expressly forbid employees and officers from referring themselves as “Texas State Police” (MISUSE OF INFOMATION or imporperly portraying a state agency employee that does not exist carryies a 10 year max sentence and $100,000 fine). Thousands of guilty DPS personnel should technically face prison time and owe The State of Texas MILLIONS in fines, but no law enforcer nor Dist. Attorney nor County/State Judege has the and integrity to bring thousands of felon public servants to proper justice=SHAME ON THEM!!!!

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