Sandra Bland

Why Was Sandra Bland Arrested?

According to the Supreme Court, cops can order legally stopped motorists out of their cars at will.

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Texas DPS

As Brian Doherty noted last night, it seems clear that Sandra Bland, who died by hanging in a Texas jail on July 13, would not have been arrested if she had not rebuffed a state trooper's request that she put out a cigarette after she was pulled over for changing lanes without signaling. But smoking in your own car is legal in Texas, so what offense did Trooper Brian Encinia think Bland had committed when he declared that she was under arrest?

In the dashcam video of the encounter, Bland repeatedly asks Encinia why he is arresting her, and he never gives a clear answer. Although she was charged with assaulting a police officer, the supposed assault occurred after Encinia announced that she was under arrest, forced her out of her car by pointing a stun gun at her, and handcuffed her. So what was the initial justification for arresting her?

Possibly Encinia had in mind Chapter 542, Section 501 of the Texas Statutes, which says "a person may not willfully fail or refuse to comply with a lawful order or direction of a police officer." In the video Encinia repeatedly says Bland has refused to comply with his lawful command to exit the vehicle, which is what leads him to threaten her with his stun gun, saying, "Get out of the car! I will light you up. Get out!" Bland says he has no legal right to demand that she leave her car based on a minor traffic infraction. Encinia insists he does have that authority.

Sadly, Encinia seems to be right, thanks to Pennsylvania v. Mimms, a 1977 decision in which the U.S. Supreme Court said a police officer may order a legally detained motorist out of his car at will. The case involved a man named Harry Mimms, who was stopped by Philadelphia police for driving a car with expired tags. After Mimms was ordered out of his car, the officer noticed a suspicious bulge under his jacket that turned out to be a gun. Mimms was charged with illegal possession of a concealed firearm, and he tried to have the gun excluded as evidence by arguing that it was obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment's ban on "unreasonable searches and seizures." The Pennsylvania Supreme Court agreed, saying the officer needed some specific reason, beyond the traffic violation that resulted in the stop, to force Mimms out of his car. The U.S. Supreme Court disagreed, saying general concerns about officer safety are enough to justify such an order:

The State freely concedes the officer had no reason to suspect foul play from the particular driver at the time of the stop, there having been nothing unusual or suspicious about his behavior. It was apparently his practice to order all drivers out of their vehicles as a matter of course whenever they had been stopped for a traffic violation. The State argues that this practice was adopted as a precautionary measure to afford a degree of protection to the officer, and that it may be justified on that ground. Establishing a face-to-face confrontation diminishes the possibility, otherwise substantial, that the driver can make unobserved movements; this, in turn, reduces the likelihood that the officer will be the victim of an assault.

We think it too plain for argument that the State's proffered justification—the safety of the officer—is both legitimate and weighty….

The hazard of accidental injury from passing traffic to an officer standing on the driver's side of the vehicle may also be appreciable in some situations. Rather than conversing while standing exposed to moving traffic, the officer prudently may prefer to ask the driver of the vehicle to step out of the car and off onto the shoulder of the road where the inquiry may be pursued with greater safety to both.

Against this important interest, we are asked to weigh the intrusion into the driver's personal liberty occasioned not by the initial stop of the vehicle, which was admittedly justified, but by the order to get out of the car. We think this additional intrusion can only be described as de minimis. 

Encinia apparently did not have a general practice of making drivers get out of their cars, as you can see in the traffic stop that preceded Bland's. Furthermore, he did not tell Bland to get out of her car until she refused to put out her cigarette, saying, "I'm in my car. Why do I have to put out my cigarette?" Maybe Encinia had a safety concern related to secondhand smoke. More likely, he was annoyed by what he perceived as Bland's failure to respect his authority. He later told her that he had been ready to let her go with a warning and that she had only herself to blame for the way the encounter ended.

Others disagree, as The New York Times notes:

State legislators who saw the video…just before it was publicly released sharply condemned the officer's behavior, which the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, Steven McCraw, said was a violation of department arrest procedures. State Senator Royce West, Democrat of Dallas, said Ms. Bland, 28, should never have been taken into custody.

State Representative Helen Giddings, Democrat of Dallas, said, "This young woman should be alive today."

The Texas Department of Public Safety says Encinia, who has been assigned to administrative duties while the arrest is investigated, "violated the department's procedures regarding traffic stops and the department's courtesy policy," although it's not clear exactly what that means.

Based on their comments in the video, Encinia and Bland clearly agreed that the escalation from warning to arrest was ridiculous, but they had diametrically opposed views of who was to blame. If only Bland had been more respectful and cooperative, Encinia thought, she could have been on her way. If only Encinia had not been so determined to assert his authority for its own sake, Bland thought, he never would have forced her out of the car, let alone handcuffed her and knocked her down.

They were both right. Knowing that police work tends to attract more than its share of authoritarian bullies, Bland could have hidden her annoyance at being pulled over after switching lanes to let Encinia pass. She could have meekly complied with his instructions, in which case she probably would still be alive (whether or not she actually killed herself in her cell, as a coroner concluded, or was the victim of foul play, as her family suspects). But it is hardly surprising than an activist against police abuse would bridle at the expectation that she simply do as she was told, even though that expectation has been endorsed by the Supreme Court.

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194 responses to “Why Was Sandra Bland Arrested?

  1. The U.S. Supreme Court disagreed, saying general concerns about officer safety are enough to justify such an order…

    That’s what’s great about Supreme Court justices. They understand that constitutional protections against government incursions in personal liberty were only supposed to apply when state agents feel safe.

    1. That’s why only certain special people can be Supreme Court justices; they have to be able to magically perceive all the exceptions to the Constitution that aren’t actually written into the Constitution.

      1. “hey have to be able to magically perceive all the exceptions to the Constitution that aren’t actually written into the Constitution.”

        It’s more complicated than that. They also have to be able to pretend some of the things written in the constitution were never really there at all while recognizing other things that weren’t there really are. It’s almost as if to be a supreme court justice you must believe 6 impossible things before breakfast every day.

        1. Law School taught me how to turn States into No States in 23 pages. It is fucking magic.

          1. Troy,

            That magic trick is something, yet in comparison to this case, it’s minor league magic. Per the news media, repeated several times on different channels today-the cops performed a variation on the classic magic trick, “The Locked Room Mystery.” The deceased victim is recorded talking less than an hour of her being found dead, in a position indicating hanging, but with no conclusive proof that she hung herself considering she was in custodial custody in a locked jail cell. This roughly one hour period in a locked room, observed to have remained locked and unvisited, is in question.

            If the cops murdered her, they had to have suborned inmate witnesses in sight of her cell, who say no-one visited her cell. If they murdered her, they would have also had to have altered the video tape of the hall, which covers the cell enough to show anyone who could have entered-since it shows no-one, they have shown magic abilities that you also brag about learning in law school. The magic of the law!

    2. You mean government employees protect government employees?

      They should have gone with a supreme grand jury or something. Having people picked by political parties as the ones that would be the ultimate arbiter of laws is just asking for trouble.

      1. Except in this case state government employees didn’t protect other state government employees. That’s why I got to the SC. The idea that U.S. Supreme Court justices see themselves as the same species of employment as city cops is a little hard to believe.

    3. Is there an enumerated right in the Constitution that gives people the right to do something that may make an officer of the state feel unsafe? Is there? No, there is not. Since rights are enumerated and powers are unlimited, then this is a good decision. Duh. Everyone knows this.

      1. State and local governments have general police power, not enumerated powers.

        1. Isn’t that what I said? The Constitution and other documents are not there to limit government. They are there to spell out certain rights for the people, and that is it. No limits at all on government. There really isn’t much of a point in a Constitution anyway. Just spell out a few rights (which will be ignored anyway) and then the government does whatever it wants.

          1. That is what you said, but you were practicing irony (the lowest form of humor).

            1. No. Sarcasm is the lowest form of humor. If you’re going to attempt to insult me, you should at least get it right. Moron (that’s an observation, not an insult).

              1. Sarcasm is the use of irony, moron.

                sar?casm
                ?s?r?kaz?m/Submit
                noun
                the use of irony to mock or convey contempt.

                1. The quote you reference specifically says “sarcasm,” not “irony.” Way to move the goalposts though.

                  1. Holy crackers, you ARE a moron. LOL.

                    1. So you don’t even know the quote you are referencing.

                2. Sarchasm.

                  The gap between the person using it and the tard not getting it.

              2. No. Sarcasm is the lowest form of humor.

                Even lower than fart jokes?

            2. A bolus is like a pimple on the ass of prosperity, right?

          2. How can a government agent know which laws to ignore if the laws haven’t first been put in writing and subsequently squelched by government jurists?

            Sheesh.

            1. That’s easy. Just ignore them all. That’s what they do anyway.

              1. Surely you are not suggesting that they drop all pretenses?

                What will they do with all the masks that haven’t slipped completely off yet?

                1. Why not? At least that would be honest.

          3. We need a new constitution–worldwide; one that is rooted in individual liberty.
            robertsrevolution.net

        2. And just what is the general police power to you, hmm? The States and local governments can do whatever they want, checked only by the magic of ballot casting?

    4. Which constitutional protection says you have the right to stay in your car during a traffic stop?

      1. The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, that’s what.

        1. You must have a different version from the one I learned. I don’t see anything about cars or any human-containers other than homes. Cars are “effects” but nothing there says you have a right to hide yourself in your effects.

          1. Who cares about the container? You have a right to be free from unreasonable seizures. You’re focusing on the wrong object.

            1. I believe the state’s argument there would go like “you have a right to stay in your own car as long as you’re on private property and not subject to the laws pertaining to state maintained rights of way or any other property legally patrolled and maintained by the police. Once you chose to venture onto state-maintained roadways or any private property legally patrolled by the police (like shopping center parking lots, etc), you are considered to be in the public domain and you are subject to commands the same as if you were a pedestrian.”

              That’s my take on how they’d frame it.

              1. I don’t think that issue would even come up. A cop wouldn’t be doing a traffic stop on your private property, and would need to have a specific reason for being there in the first place.

                1. when I lived in Virginia, I was ticketed for having an unregistered vehicle parked in my driveway, even though they had no evidence I was driving.

                  In Pennsylvania, I pulled into my driveway and the police car followed me, turning on it’s lights after it was on my property.

              2. They might frame it that way, but that argument won’t get them anywhere. A seizure is a seizure, regardless of where it occurs.

                Setting Mimms aside, which really is the basis of all of this nonsense, the state would argue that such a seizure is akin to a Terry stop or prop it up on some bullshit Chimel or Gant analogue.

                Mimms permits this idiocy from continuing. Mimms was wrongly decided.

              3. “That’s my take on how they’d frame it.”

                Without the lawyers present, they’ll frame it as BFYTW.

            2. Being asked to step out of your container isn’t a seizure (or a search). If it doesn’t apply to the refrigerator box you’re sleeping in it doesn’t apply to your car.

              1. It is a seizure if you comply with it. Submitting to an assertion of authority is the definition of a seizure. Hodari D.

                I have no idea what argument you’re trying to make about the refrigerator.

              2. So what are you going to cite a driver on a public road for loitering? By what conceivable justification could this cop have for telling the lady to get out of her car. Apparently, “because I said so” is a the proper reasoning behind a lawful order. No, that is not going to lead anywhere bad.
                And how is this not a search? If it isn’t a search, what possible reason would there be?
                Officer: “Do what I say?”
                Peon: “Why?”
                O: “Because I said so!”
                P: “Am I under arrest?”
                O: “You are now!”
                P: “For what?”
                O: “Resisting arrest”.

                Its turtles all the way down!

                1. By simply ordering you out of the car, the officer has not effected a search (either under the plain meaning of the word or as “understood” by Katz with the Jones gloss). He hasn’t “searched” anything yet: not you, not the car, etc.

                  The analysis will change once he starts rooting through the vehicle or your person. Unless you’re lawfully arrested, etc.

                  1. Ordering one out of a car is considered seizure, however.

                    “To constitute a seizure of the person, just as to constitute an arrest — the quintessential “seizure of the person” under Fourth Amendment jurisprudence — there must be either the application of physical force, however slight, or, where that is absent, submission to an officer’s “show of authority” to restrain the subject’s liberty.”

                    From California vs Hodari D, as cited above.

                    1. Facts. Thank you.

                2. “aaargh….I’ll light you up!”

                  clearly he misspoke.

                  He meant to say: “I’ll hang you up!”

                  1. I’m surprised she didn’t shoot herself twice in the back of the head.

              3. If she was being “asked” to get out of the car, that implies she can say no. She isn’t being asked to get out of the fucking car. She is being told to get out of the fucking car.

          2. bolus,

            I thought that the Constitution and Bill of Rights are primarily meant to limit what the government can do, rather than what rights the people are given by their government.

            1. US Constitution, yes.

              State constitutions, no.

              1. You realize the state constitutions are subject to the federal one, right?

                1. And even then, state constitutions absolutely do limit what the state can do. That’s the point of the state constitution. It overrides its plenary police power.

          3. Even if you take that ridiculous position, why would they have a right to search your effects for … you?

      2. “Which constitutional protection says you have the right to stay in your car during a traffic stop?”

        The fucking 9th Amendment, motherfucker!

    5. This General Concerns character sounds like some third-world dictator.

    6. Now I know why “officer safety” is invoked so many times by the police. “Supreme Court’s on our side, and has been since 1977.”

      Is it going to take a Constitutional Amendment to untangle all this??

  2. But it is hardly surprising than an activist against police abuse would bridle at the expectation that she simply do as she was told. . .

    Or, you know, a *normal* person who’s just been pulled over for violating a bullshit traffic ordinance.

    1. No, I think most normal people realize they shouldn’t piss off the person who has the power granted by the government to fine, arrest, taser, or even shoot you.

      I have been pulled over probably two dozen times, all but 2 for phony reasons. It’s awful, but if you are polite and friendly, the cop will let you go in short order.

      And one of the 2 times I was doing well over 110 in a 45 mph zone. By all rights, the cop should have arrested me, but he knocked down my speed to just under the limit for arrest.

      The reality is, you catch more flies with honey, not vinegar. You almost certainly aren’t going to browbeat a cop into letting you go, while being polite will.

      1. Yup, I’ve also gotten out of a speeding ticket for doing more than 25 over the limit just by being polite. The cop just wrote me up for not having seatbelt on (although I actually did) explaining it was only a $50 fine and no points, as opposed to the hefty fine and points the speeding ticket would have gotten me.

      2. I SUPPOSE YOU ALSO THINK GIRLS CONCERNED ABOUT BEING SEXUALLY ASSAULTED SHOULD DECIDE NOT TO WEAR SHORT SKIRTS TOO

        1. Well, sure, otherwise they’re just asking for it, right?

        2. How can we make a judgement call on this without photos, Fist?

            1. It’s only weird if you wear purple gloves. The blue ones are fine.

          1. I read that as Fist photos.

        3. Sexually provocative clothing does not appear to be a risk factor for rape, so that actually doesn’t work. If it were, however, yes, it would be a good idea. Just like locking your front door, securing your computer, not walking through bad neighborhoods, not displaying wealth conspicuously, not leaving the keys in the ignition, etc.

          One risk factor “girls concerned about being sexually assaulted” should worry about is whether they get into private rooms with young men they don’t know very well, because then you get into these he-said-she-said situations and injustice is inevitable.

          While you are free to take whatever risks you like, tax payers shouldn’t be forced to deal with the consequences of your choices no matter what. If the legal system were privatized libertarian-style, you can bet that the rates you pay for the justice system would very much depend on the risks you take.

      3. You almost certainly aren’t going to browbeat a cop into letting you go, while being polite will.

        Its not about ‘letting you go’. Its about putting a cost onto the cop for these bullshit ‘interactions’. I’m perfectly fine with taking a ticket when I’ve done something *wrong* – such as using the turn lane to pass someone (slow fucker) and, in the process, speeding through an intersection. Where it turns out there was a county sheriff’s deputy right behind me when I hit the gas.

        When stopped I was polite and took ownership of my mistake.

        Getting stopped for ‘failure to signal’ is just bullshit right from the start and she was completely correct to to be upset and take that out on the officer. The officer, who being a public fucking employee ‘just doing his job’, shouldn’t have taken it personally nor escalated the encounter.

        Just giver her the fucking ticket and go. That’s all he was paid to do and if he had stuck to that – he wouldn’t be in the the shit he’s in right now.

        1. No, I think most normal people realize they shouldn’t piss off the person who has the power granted by the government to fine, arrest, taser, or even shoot you.

          If this is what ‘normal’ people do – the you guys are why these fuckers can get away with the shit the get away with.

          1. Yeah, it’s my fault she got killed cause I was all “yes sir, no sir” the other day when I got stopped buy the MI State Cop…

            …and was released with a warning for doing 90 in a 70.

            My self preservation instincts prevent me from making a poltiical stand over a stupid traffic stop. If you don’t want to do that- hey, it’s a free country.

            1. Jesus Fucking Early-Morning Christ – “buy”? Really?

              *opens ANOTHER bottle of Mountain Dew – mainlines it*

              1. Gross, Mountain Dew at 6-7am? Got an Insane Clown Possee concert lined up tonight?

          2. This The fucking sheep acting like well behaved sheep, are part of the problem. It emboldens them.

            Ask a fucking pig to “articulate his reasonable suspicion” Ask a fucking pig “am I being detainined?” This pig will instantly perk up.The lawyers among you know these are magic words. And the pigs know they are magic words. Magic words that might mean you know more than them and that you might stand up to themn. They all get fucking irate. Every one of them. For asserting my rights. And to avoid this, I have to be “normal.” Fuck you sheep.

            As far as I am concerned, once I see those flashing lights in the mirror, and I have to stop being on my merry way, that is you are impeding on my liberty to go where the fuck I want, when I want, , I am siezed. And asserting my rights shouldn’t be a fucking death sentence.

            Yeah yeah yeah, I know SCOTUS says blah blah blah.. Fuck them They have no integrity and opinions are just that. Just another drop in the river.

            1. I am always polite to the cop, he can shoot me if I’m not.

              However, I have also several times taken the opportunity to go to court and explain to the judge how the cop was being an asshole.

        2. Getting stopped for ‘failure to signal’ is just bullshit right from the start

          How do you propose to enforce the law requiring a signal before changing lanes then? Or are you against that law?

          1. I propose no traffic citation can be given if no collision occurs. All violation level offenses are insufficient cause to stop a vehicle, and a misdeameanor or felony level stop which fails to turn up evidence of the initial cause for stopping the vehicle invalidates any violation level citations issued from that stop.

            1. Then somebody could weave around at will in traffic, blow stop signs and red lights, etc, as long as the other drivers on the road were alert and didn’t want to be in a collision. Way to empower assholes.

              1. Then somebody could weave around at will in traffic, blow stop signs and red lights, etc, drive like a cop as long as the other drivers on the road were alert and didn’t want to be in a collision. Way to empower assholes.

                ftfy

              2. Then somebody could weave around at will in traffic, blow stop signs and red lights, etc, as long as the other drivers on the road were alert and didn’t want to be in a collision. Way to empower assholes

                The traffic patterns would remain unchanged then.

              3. The current system as it operates certainly empowers assholes, who occasionally kill people for no defensible reason.

                1. kill people for no defensible reason. AKA Murder.

                  Oh and don’t forget the paid vacation.

              4. Or stand in the middle of a park and spin in circles while shooting a machine gun, right? Isn’t that your normal argument?

                CB

              5. Then somebody could weave around at will in traffic, blow stop signs and red lights, etc, as long as the other drivers on the road were alert and didn’t want to be in a collision. Way to empower assholes.

                In other words…

                Connecticut

                1. ^^^^^^THIS.^^^^^^^^

                  Holy shit, 84 on any weekday is insane. 95, too. And that says nothing about the perpetual construction CT has been undergoing for my entire fucking forty-five years of existence.

      4. a little pet peeve of mine..

        The reality is, you catch more flies with honey, not vinegar.

        Somehow this saying got transformed from bears to flies. Flies love vinegar. A jar of vinegar with a saran wrap and slits cut out works great for catching all the flies and gnats in a place. I guess it’s because it’s the same smell as rotting (fermenting) stuff.

      5. “I think most normal people realize…”

        That they are peasants and in practice have no rights the cops don’t deign to offer them.

      6. You can’t give advice like that, here.
        Here, its all about
        “I’VE GOT RIGHTS, DAMMIT. YOU FASCIST PIG”,

        And they are genuinely surprised when they don’t get kid glove treatment.

      7. I was doing 72 in a 55. I apologized to the officer, that I was sorry I wasn’t paying attention as I was finishing my sandwich. I got a warning (oh, and I’m a white man)

  3. I don’t know about Texas, but many states have laws that a cop has to tell you why he’s arresting you, if it isn’t obvious, and it didn’t seem obvious to Ms. Bland.

    In other words, assuming he was giving a lawful order, resistance to which was a crime, then in civilized jurisdictions he *still* has to explain this point.

    Because we don’t live in the kind of country where a cop can arrest you without telling you why.

    Isn’t that right?

    1. Because we don’t live in the kind of country where a cop can arrest you without telling you why.

      Isn’t that right?

      Nope.

    2. Did the cop watch the old TV dramas?

      COP: You’re under arrest.

      SUSPECT: For what?

      COP: [dramatically] For the murder of Mrs. Eustace Tilley!

      [hauls criminal off to prison]

      Isn’t there a name for the kind of jurisdiction where the cops can arrest you without telling you why?

      Oh, yes: A police state.

      1. Here’s one state’s law. YMMV depending on state:

        “Upon making an arrest, a law-enforcement officer must…As promptly as is reasonable under the circumstances, inform the arrested person of the cause of the arrest, unless the cause appears to be evident.”

        http://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLe…..A-401.html

        1. That’s pretty much par for every state – and it means that the cop doesn’t have to tell you why until *after* he’s gotten you secured/compliant.

          1. I would think that would depend on the circumstances…I’m not going to concede this point because, if there was a blanket rule about waiting until the suspect was secured, then the statutes would say so.

            1. But of course in practice this is how the cops will read it, yes.

              1. And in practice this is what the courts will defer to.

    3. but many states have laws that a cop has to tell you why he’s arresting you

      Since when did the cops have to follow the law?

    4. Because we don’t live in the kind of country where a cop can arrest you without telling you why.

      Why would that matter? There’s nothing you can legally do to challenge the arrest at that point.

      If the cop didn’t have a valid reason you can get released under habeas corpus and later sue for false arrest.

      1. and later sue for false arrest.

        Haaaaaaaaa ha ha ha ha! Yeah! Getting paid overtime to go to court, followed by settlement that involves a tax-funded payout and no admitting of any wrongdoing, will certainly teach the cops not to falsely arrest people! That’ll larn ’em good!

        1. I didn’t say the system was perfect, only that the means for fighting an unjustified arrest are unavailable to you at the time of arrest.

          If you think being an asshole to cops on the side of the road is going to help remedy police abuse, you’re sadly mistaken.

          1. My sense of self-preservation stops me from being an asshole to the psychopaths who seek out to be policemen because it gives them the power to do anything they want, including murder, without consequence.

        2. Bankrupting the fucking sheep will lead to one of two things:

          A revolution by vote or violence. Win.

          Sheep starving beneath their moral betters. Win.

          Though if it can be proven he was acting outside the scope of his duties, including agency policy, you can sue him INDIVIDUALLY for several lifetimes worth of income.

          A few pigs getting raped to death in Gen Pop, or living homeless in refrigerator cartons holding signs that say, “Will suck cock for food” would have some sort of effect on the rest of their “Brothers.”

          Maybe they’d quit and the legalized street gang known as the police would disappear. Maybe they’d decide to abide by the letter of the law themselves rather than get raped or ruined.

          Either way, win.

          There are far too few downsides to being a politician or pig. Actual risk of life or freedom, as the rest of us face, will be positive for them.

          1. You must be very wealthy from your lawsuit wins and able to point to all kinds of police, living in refrigerator boxes, right?
            Yeah, thought so.

    5. The problem is, there is no one in the moment to judge if the cop gave a “lawful order” besides the cop himself, who may become psychopathically enraged if his judgement is questioned.

      Being in the right avails you little if you are dead.

      1. If following the order harms you in some way, you can sue (if indeed it was not lawful).

        It’s not a perfect system by any means, and there are opportunities for abuse, but if you require an officer to persuade the subject of the lawfulness of his or her order before it is complied with, you will not be able to have anything approaching effective policing.

        1. If cops actually faced consequences for blithely issuing unlawful orders and then unlawfully using violence to illegally arrest people for lawfully refusing to obey unlawful orders, then maybe they’d start to act within the law. You know, rule of law and stuff. That stuff that supposedly makes America exceptional.

          1. why is everyone engaging tulpa?

        2. “If following the order harms you in some way,…”

          This is what some thugs just don’t quite understand – having your freedom violated *is* harm.

          “but if you require an officer to persuade the subject of the lawfulness of his or her order before it is complied with”

          Whether he persuades or not, in a free country he would be required to *notify* the peasant of the lawful basis for his order.

  4. Why Was Sandra Bland Arrested? According to the Supreme Court, cops can order legally stopped motorists out of their cars at will.

    Shorter Answer: Because Fuck You, That’s Why.

  5. “Give me liberty of Give me death.”

    “Respect mah authoritah or DIE!”

    Guess we’re getting death.

    1. But . . . but . . . I asked for *cake*.

      1. The cake is a lie.

        1. It *can’t* be a lie.

          Look, I specifically remember the choice was ‘cake or death’, none of this liberty stuff. I chose cake.

          It was this British dude in a dress – I knew he wasn’t Canadian because of the accent.

          1. The German’s called them “the ladies from Hell” for a reason….

            +1 Black Watch

            1. *notes stupid use of apostrophe – opens a new bottle of Mountain Dew – chugs*

              1. You should consider switching to coffee.

              2. They brought Surge back ya know.

                1. “JOLT Cola! All the sugar…and TWICE the caffeine!!”

      2. Cake is death and death is cake.

        1. ‘beetus.

  6. For some reason, this case makes me sick to the pit of my stomach even more than usual. The only good I can take out of ALL these cases is that
    1) they’re been much more widely published and, consequently
    2) people in general, who otherwise tend not to pay attention, are paying attention and sayinf, “WTF? Hang on…”

    Otherwise – this case in particular, and all “respect mah authoritah – OH! You di’n’t, so you’re DEAD” cases just make me more and more hopeless and ready for the revolution.

    *continues sharpening woodchipper blades*

    1. They work just as well dull. It just means they have to grind a bit.

  7. In the previous post, the cop’s name was given as Encina. In this one, it’s given as Encinia. Can you guys get this stuff straight? Has your copy editor been woodchippered?

    1. It’s the Revenge of Lu….The Revenge of She Who Shall Remain Nameless

        1. There is Truth that lives
          And Truth that dies
          I don’t know which

          1. This is like the worst haiku I’ve seen in at least three days.

  8. Question: what offense did Trooper Brian Encinia think Bland had committed when he declared that she was under arrest?

    Answer: she was pulled over for changing lanes without signaling — that is, “aggressive driving”.

    1. she was pulled over for changing lanes without signaling — that is, “aggressive driving” wreckless endangerment of an officer

      fixed.

      1. “Wreckless”, fortunately; but “reckless”.

  9. Just one more thought:

    “Why Was Sandra Bland Arrested?”

    Because she’s black?

    Just a thought…

    1. It’s beyond that. This same cop would do the same to a white lady.

      The problem is the Card Blanc we give police officers with the ability to arrest for petty offenses. That needs to be taken away.

      1. Unlimited personal criminal and civil liability for actions taken on the job for all agents of the government, including cops, judges and prosecutors.

        1. Rules are for the peasants, not their rulers.

  10. Question: Do you know why I pulled you over today?

    Answer: Because you didn’t do well in high school?

    1. Jealous of my car? Dunkin Donuts is closed and you’re bored? I dunno, is this a multiple choice question?

  11. Officer 1 : “she kickeded my leg!”

    token fat Officer 2 : “awww suga, you want momma give ya boo-boo a kisses?”

    Officer 1 : “nahh, she didn’t kick me that hard. But she still kickeded me!”

    Victim : “he smashed my head on the ground!”

    token fat Officer 2: ” I ain’t talking to you!”

  12. Land of the Free to Obey or Die.

  13. Why Was Sandra Bland Arrested?

    In this case, like many cases, Sandra Bland was arrested because the Police Officer got pissed off at her and decided to use the catch-all Disorderly conduct charge.

    I’m beginning to believe that police officers shouldn’t be allowed to arrest anyone not committing a felony at this point. They are a bunch of stupid meat-heads and morons with ego problems.

    They’ve even started doing this to white people now.

    1. police officers shouldn’t be allowed to arrest anyone not committing a felony

      Easily done. “Disorderly conduct” is now a felony.

    2. “They’ve even started doing this to white people now.”

      Glenda: I”f you’re innocent, they’ll never send you to jail.”

      Nick: “Is that how it works, Chester?”

      Chester: “Not in my neighborhood.”

  14. I question the whole notion that a cop should have the “right” to be obeyed under any circumstances. At most, it’s a state-enumerated power, not a right.

    Further, it’s not a good power to give them. There’s a ton of evidence from individual cases across the country that the police often abuse their authority with no justification.

    Officers should only have the power to compel obedience when they have specific evidence of a crime. Lacking that, they should have the same restraints on demanding obedience that everyone else has.

    Also, Reason needs to update their commenting system. The idea that there should be no way to format a comment to make it more readable is arcane.

    1. Agreed.

    2. Police authority comes from their law enforcement duties. If they have no reason to suspect that a law has been broken, then they have no legal authority to tell anyone to do anything. None. Zippo. Nada. At that point they are just abusing their power. Though in practice it doesn’t matter since they face no consequences whatsoever for abusing their power.

      1. abusing power is not against he law….she didn’t use her turn signal…therefore the police can kill her. The killer cop is on administrative vacation duties…..what more do you people want?

    3. “I question the whole notion that a cop should have the “right” to be obeyed under any circumstances. ”

      Question all you like. The Supreme’s have given them the *power*. Because Officer Safety.

      “The idea that there should be no way to format a comment to make it more readable is arcane.”

      Some wiki markup does work. I got line breaks to work the other day on my “Wouldn’t you like to be a Chipper too?” song lyrics.

  15. “I will light you up.”

    It’s like there’s a pipeline from Rage-a-holics Anonymous to every police force in the country.

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    1. Fuck off, spamming cunt.

  17. Is it every citizen’s duty to be fully aware of how quickly any random cop is prone to lose his temper?

    1. You tell us; you favor transforming the US into a police state, after all.

      1. All I want is a decent safety net. I’m with libertarians all the way when it comes to the pigs.

    2. If the Supreme Court is to be trusted, then yes…

    3. no…it is not their duty….they just need to die a lot of the time.

  18. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court agreed, saying the officer needed some specific reason, beyond the traffic violation that resulted in the stop, to force Mimms out of his car. The U.S. Supreme Court disagreed, saying general concerns about officer safety are enough to justify such an order:

    Wait a minute?Penna. appealed a case from their own court to a federal court? They can do that??!

    1. That is interesting. A double fuck you from SCOTUS.

  19. Typical small town prick cop. She shouldn’t have been pulled over to start with. Everybody switches lanes without a blinker – unless there’s another car there you need to signal to there’s no point. To think this woman died for something so stupid as that is disgusting. I would have been highly annoyed at getting pulled over for such a stupid reason too.

    1. Actually, early in the altercation I think she said she changed lanes to get out of the cops way.

      Apparently, that act of submission got him hot so he needed more.

    2. Indy Texan: Sandra Bland, if you watch the complete video, ran a stop sign, turned without signaling, was speeding, changed lanes without signaling & changed lanes while crossing through an intersection, all of which are violations of Texas traffic laws. The Officer used his discretion to choose the least of the violations and write her a WARNING which she blew all out of proportion, resulting in her arrest.
      After she was arrested she tested positive for using marijuana, and that by itself would have cost her the job at the University.
      Why was she depressed enough to commit suicide on the day she was supposed to start the new job? I don’t know.

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    1. Please change lanes without signalling.

  21. Why Was Sandra Bland Arrested?

    For questioning the King’s men.

    1. It was the policeman’s right to tell her to put her cigarette out and stick it in her cootchie. He was simply using his rights….don’t know why she had to get all uppity.

  22. The saddest thing in all of these senseless, stupid encounters that end badly is that the solution is so, so simple: remove immunity for police officers. That’s it. Voila. Problem fixed.

    The moment they face the same liability as the rest of us for their actions, that they are accountable, all of this changes. Their behavior changes to be just like the rest of ours. I mean, how is it not obvious that when you reduce the odds of a cop ever being prosecuted, sued, or even losing a day’s pay to almost nil, you’re going to get shitty, lawless, “unaccountable” type behavior?

    That’s all it would take. All police officers subject to the law the same as the rest of us. Ditto for Congress.

    Seriously. Remove immunity and a lot of shit gets fixed. A lot.
    Fuck.

    1. Indeed. I seriously want to read about a crooked cop getting raped to death by MS13 in the pen.

      I guarantee, next fucking day, every pig in the country shapes up.

  23. Think about the last moments of Sandra Bland’s life if she did not kill herself. Imagine that scenario if you can. Not in a Soviet gulag or a North Korean camp, but in a jail cell right here in America. Horrifying.

    1. if?….everyone knows the cops killed her.

  24. Cops can arrest anybody they want…. So he did… You cannot stop a cop from arresting someone..,.. all corrective action has to happen after the fact… with training in some cases and disiplinary action in others…

    To pretend this is not the way it is is silly

  25. Burn it to the ground Woodchip it to a heap and start all over.

  26. so what your saying is…in Bravehart….when the officer of the law tells the man it is his “right” to fuck the guys wife….that ya it was his right to fuck everyone’s wife.

    1. Nah. Scottish serfs might have had some rights.

  27. How do we KNOW she died by hanging? We just accept the word of the police on blind faith? Kidnappers and murderers might lie you know?

  28. Obviously arrested for Driving While Uppity.

    Does DPS need anything more than this video to determine the suitability of this office to continue on the job?
    Little Man Syndrome!

  29. “Why Was Sandra Bland Arrested?”

    BFYTW.

    More specifically:
    ” More likely, he was annoyed by what he perceived as Bland’s failure to respect his authority. ”

    You WILL Respect My AUTHORITAH!

    That’s always what gets people killed – if they don’t bend over eagerly enough to suit the cop, if they attempt to assert any right against the cop, no matter how small.

  30. dpbisme|7.22.15 @ 1:48PM|#

    What is and should never be. Wrong on so many counts. A pig acting under the color of law can and SHOULD be stopped…and the more prepared one’s gang is to the pigs’ greatly increases one’s chances of success. Warning. Pigs are prone to conducting ambushes of people while wearing masks. No rules/morals apply to them. Act accordingly.

    What is most disturbing is your lack of acknowledgment of the all too frequent need for discipline and training and the infrequency of incarceration and dismissal. Are you just that accepting of tyranny.

  31. All those in power must be removed from power, and that includes the villains sitting on the Supreme Court!
    robertsrevolution.net

  32. I think people are jumping to conclusions without enough information. What else might the officer had to deal with that day? Remember that the officer in the McKinney case late May or early June had, earlier that day, had to deal with a man’s suicide and helping the family then later talking a teenage (black, btw) girl out of suicide before encountering the teens at that pool. It doesn’t excuse his conduct but does, to reasonable people, add some sense of the stress he’d been under already.

    So what else might this officer had to deal with? Had he had several others mouthing off that day? It’s clear this lady was mouthing off from the start.

    1. yeah, well, he’s a professional. he’s has to fucking suck it up. if he can’t he should find another job.

  33. The bigger mystery is why people are blaming her suicide on her arrest. If that was the case, then Sandra was mentally ill.

  34. This illustrates a conundrum we all face.

    On the one hand, a person has the right to challenge LE on why they are being detained, and that is a good thing for society overall. If we all meekly obeyed all authority, we’d be well on our way to tyranny.

    On the other, cops are conditioned this way because they repeatedly encounter belligerence in violent criminals.


    Say we have a duck hunter standing in the reeds. He hears a quack, quickly shoots, and it’s a duck. Good–he got the duck. He does this for 20 years–plenty of behavioral conditioning.

    Then say a human hides in the reeds and does their best “quack” impression, and the hunter quickly shoots and uh oh, it’s a human, not a duck.

    Who do we blame? The person who impersonated the duck? Well, not quite–the hunter should have stopped to ID the target before shooting. But we can’t blame the person who impersonated the duck–there is nothing at all wrong, criminal, immoral, or unethical about standing in the reeds and quacking like a duck.

    But, if the person had hid in the reeds and yelled, “Hey Dick (Cheney),” and the hunter had shot, then the hunter would clearly be in the wrong, because no duck can talk.

    So, Bland is screwed. She behaved belligerently towards the cop, as many criminals do, so the cop has no way of knowing of whether she is a criminal or not (without prior knowledge), and so he has to “take control of the situation,” because she could, as far as he knows, be a cop killer.

    I take neither side.

  35. The Texas Department of Public Safety says Encinia…”violated the department’s procedures regarding traffic stops and the department’s courtesy policy,”

    Wait a minute…they have a “courtesy policy”?

  36. The 4th Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. As a note, in Texas any offense is an arrestable offense, with the exception of speeding and driving with an open container (the can arrest you for DUI, but not for the container alone). To me, allowing an arrest for failure to signal is unreasonable; but now we’d have to get into the incorporation doctrine and whether or not the Federal Constitution should be forced on the states…

  37. “all intended just to get money from us. (In this case, lane change with failure to signal.)”

    LANE CHANGE WITH FAILURE TO SIGNAL is NOT a way to get money from us. It’s the LAW, look it up. It’s about safety, just like not locking your kids in the car, wearing your seatbelt and so on. If you’re going to do nothing but tread on the laws and people whom risk their lives every day to keep everyone safe then I offer you a quick and easy solution. GET OUT. You are free to choose from a variety of great places; such as Canada, with a 20%+ income tax, Russia, or better yet how about North Korea? They would have just kicked down your door and feed you to the dogs.

    I’m getting sick and tired of all the liberal media bitching about how cops abuse their powers, take advantage of the “little” people and give out tickets for what they think is something stupid then turn around and bitch some more when there isn’t one at their house is under 30 seconds when someone breaks in. Furthermore, the police are just upholding the laws put into place by the government so if you’re looking to place blame or accuse someone of “getting money out of you” then you need to look higher.

  38. ..continued..

    Finally, most of what has been happening in the media to stupid people being killed has resulted in THEM putting themselves in harms way. If you are ordered to do something by someone of authority, DO IT. End of story. Don’t get your panties in a wad and start an argument. Treat them with respect and you will get respect, and probably not killed. It’s an easy lesson, get off your high horse and sense of entitlement that someone owes you something. Pull your pants up, get a job, stop making babies you can’t support, put down the bottle, dump the drugs and stop being a blight on the human race and everything will be grand.

    1. “If you are ordered to do something by someone of authority, DO IT. End of story.”

      I just gagged when I read that.

    2. I don’t want to live in a country like that. And if you belong to a demographic where this happens often, it can get old. It is easy to be the perfect little citizen if such things are rare. If you are a petitle good looking blonde, versus a black citizen or a white guy seen as a hippie or even a burned out vet ala First Blood, such encounters test your patience. It’s like your parents. If they tell you something once, you are more likely to be polite in responding. If they keep nagging you, sooner or later, you will say “oh please shut it ma “or “shut it pa”.

  39. If you are ordered to do something by someone of authority, DO IT. End of story.

    Yup, I’ll just bet that when a cop orders you to suck his dick, you’ll be the first to ask if he wants his salad tossed also,,,

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  41. This is the context I put this in. A few years ago, as license plate fees increased – and the stickers showing annual payment got more and more valuable (and subject to being stolen) – there was a proposal to end the sticker system. And a hue and cry from the boys in blue went up that this took away a reason to pull people over. It became clear to me that it was a pretext to pull people over. They WANT to pull people over. They want ANY reason pull people over. Pulling people over is the WHOLE ROOT point.

    And so the process becomes clear – layer on more and more bureaucracy, increase ways peasants fail compliance, increase scenarios to “interact” with peasants, and any chaffing under the yoke is the free pass to up the ante by the state official. The whole process is to extract money from the peasantry and any sign of uppitiness is handled with increasing levels of Force.

    And the peasants innately know they are being put under the heal and are starting to rebel. The ball is in the statists hands.

    1. And the peasants innately know they are being put under the heal and are starting to rebel. The ball is in the statists hands.

      Too bad the statists are successfully distracting the peasantry with racial shit so as not to address its own systemic abuse.

  42. Here’s what the chief of police ought to say to Encinia.

    I may not be able to fire you because of union rules, but as long as you are employed here you’ll be cleaning toilets, emptying waste baskets and getting everyone coffee and donuts. And if those toilets are not spotless you’ll do them over and over and over again.

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  44. There is an alarming number of people in law enforcement who seem to believe that if you don’t address them as “Sir” and jump when they say “jump!”, then they are well within their rights to arrest you … or perhaps even shoot you where you stand.

  45. I can’t equate the two behaviors equally because the cop has the gun. he has the power to do what he wants. The lady has no such recourse to abuse her power. She can be the perfect little protestor who is polite to a fault, but you can’t expect citizens to be perfect all the time. The cop was clearly being passive aggressive. When he says “are you done” when he himself asked her to explain why she was irritated, he set up on a course of escalation instead of de-escalation. I too think he might have let her go if she catered to his ego, but I think he too was looking for an excuse to abuse his authority if a suitable candidate came along who wouldn’t cater to that ego. Thsat’s why he goes from an insincere “would you put out that cigarette PLEEEEEASE” to yanking her out of that car within seconds. And sure, by law, he doesn’t have to tell her why he was arresting her, but his refusal to do so when she keeps asking why, only needlessly escalates it. The power is one sided, so it is more important for the cop to be less of a jerk because all th elady can do is vent verbally while he can use physical force to express his power.

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  47. “Sadly, Encinia seems to be right”

    What does he mean by “sadly?” Whenever a policeman has asked me to get out of my car, I’ve gotten out of my car, without caring what grounds he had for asking. If that makes me a slave, it’s slavery that at least comes with the benefits of still being alive and never having been physically abused by a policeman. This default hatred of policemen is ridiculous. Civilization-hating anarchists should find their own place to live and leave the United States to those who love it. To the extent they infected her with their ideas, they’re partly responsible for the death of Sandra Bland.

  48. Sandra Bland, if you watch the complete video, ran a stop sign, turned without signaling, was speeding, changed lanes without signaling & changed lanes while crossing through an intersection, all of which are violations of Texas traffic laws. After she was arrested she tested positive for using marijuana, and that by itself would have cost her the job at the University.
    Why was she depressed enough to commit suicide on the day she was supposed to start the new job? I don’t know.

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