Sandra Bland

Cellphone Video Provides Further Evidence That the Cop Who Arrested Sandra Bland Was Angry Rather Than Afraid

Trooper Brian Encinia could see that Bland, whom he stopped for failing to signal a lane change, was holding a cellphone, not a weapon.

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Brian Encinia, the Texas state trooper who arrested Sandra Bland in 2015 after pulling her over for failing to signal a lane change, claimed he feared for his safety when Bland, who died of an apparent suicide three days later in the Waller County jail, resisted his orders to put out her cigarette and get out of her car. Newly released cellphone video of the encounter casts further doubt on that already implausible claim.

The widely viewed dashcam video of the traffic stop, which the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) released after Bland's death, suggests that Encinia lost his temper and needlessly escalated the situation because she was not sufficiently obeisant. The 39-second cellphone video, which Bland's relatives and their lawyers say they had never seen before, reinforces that impression.

"Get out of the car, now!" Encinia commands at the beginning of the video. Bland objects that he is "threatening to drag me out of my own car" over a minor traffic violation, at which point Encinia draws his Taser and bellows, "Get out of the car! I will light you up! Get out! Get out of the car!"

Bland complies, while continuing to complain about Encinia's excessive and unnecessary use of force. He orders her to "get off the phone," and she replies, "I'm not on the phone. I have a right to record. This is my property." Encinia disagrees. "Put your phone down, right now!" he shouts. The dashcam video shows Bland putting her phone down on the trunk of her car, at which point the cellphone video ends.

In the dashcam video, Bland continues to complain about Encinia's treatment of her, demanding to know why she is being arrested. He handcuffs her and, according to a lawsuit filed by Bland's family, tackles her, knocks her head against the pavement, and kneels on her back. Although those actions cannot be seen in the dashcam video, Bland can be heard complaining about them.

Encinia later told DPS he was afraid of Bland. "My safety was in jeopardy at more than one time," he said, suggesting that Bland could have grabbed a weapon from her purse or from somewhere else in the car. But it's clear now that Bland was holding her cellphone and using it to record Encinia while she was still inside the car. Furthermore, he saw that she was holding a cellphone and not a weapon.

"What the video shows is that Encinia had no reason to be in fear of his safety," Cannon Lambert, an attorney representing Bland's family, told The New York Times. "You could see that it was a cellphone, he was looking right at it….So if the video showed that he had no basis of being in fear of his safety, and he lied about that, then you would think [prosecutors] would be using that video."

DPS fired Encinia in 2015 after concluding that he had "violated the department's procedures regarding traffic stops and the department's courtesy policy." In 2016 a grand jury indicted him for perjury, concluding that he had lied in his report on the arrest when he claimed that "I had Bland exit the vehicle to further conduct a safe traffic investigation." Prosecutors dropped the perjury charge in exchange for Encinia's promise not to work in law enforcement ever again.

A 2017 law that Texas legislators passed in response to Bland's death, which became a leading exhibit for the Black Lives Matter movement, requires that police be trained to "de-escalate interactions with the public," encourages treatment for arrestees with mental health issues, and mandates independent investigations of deaths in jail. The Sandra Bland Act also requires reporting on traffic stops by state and local law enforcement agencies, and recent data indicate that around 45,000 Texas drivers are arrested each year for minor traffic violations. A bill introduced this year by state Rep. James White (D-Austin) would prohibit arrests for legal violations that are not punishable by jail sentences.

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44 responses to “Cellphone Video Provides Further Evidence That the Cop Who Arrested Sandra Bland Was Angry Rather Than Afraid

  1. So, only cops should have guns?

    1. And lasers. And mace. And asps. And blackjacks. Ad infinitum.

      1. Ugh. Tasers. Fucking autocorrect.

        1. lasers too why not?

          1. Sharks with lasers

  2. Prosecutors dropped the perjury charge in exchange for Encinia’s promise not to work in law enforcement ever again.

    The fuck? Uhh, how does that work?

    How about, we’re NOT dropping the charge AND you’ll never work in law enforcement ever again because the conviction will disqualify you.

    1. “promise not to work in law enforcement”

      If you can’t trust a perjurer to keep their word who can you trust?

      1. Last night I was listening to the local rock station, and the DJs were running this discussion, “Tell us the story of where you were fired, and it ended up being better for you in the end.”

        Some guy called in and said “A couple years ago I was working in Texas for peanuts and I was fired. So I moved out to LA and started working at a law firm for 3 times as much. I win!”

        I turned to my son and said, “If that guy was a cop who got fired, he is a uniquely horrible person. No cop gets fired unless it was outrageous.” Now I am wondering if the caller wasn’t this Encinia character…

        1. I should note that the caller specifically said he was fired as a cop in Texas.

          It is a fucking crime that people think “Never allowed to work as a cop” is some sort of punishment. No, the punishment should be a fucking felony on your record, so that he can’t work as a private PI or whatever he is doing now. If he lied on official reports, wouldn’t that be something that would be important if he was digging up evidence for a law form to use? But instead, this guy will continue making shit up and using it to further pervert the law.

          1. He would be limited in that he could never testify in court without the other party bringing up this past crime involving dishonesty in order to call his testimony in question. This is admissible for the purpose of impeaching a witness’s credibility. This is why a conviction would have effectively kept him out of law enforcement anyway.

          2. Speaking of official reports, was there an autopsy? What was the “official” cause of the woman’s death?

            1. Found a NYT report on that, which says the victim had “multiple abrasions on the right side of her back.” Evidently Sandra Bland tried to beat herself to death before bravely resorting to self-lynching in order to stop herself from testifying against a First Responder™. How patriotic of her!

    2. Amy guesses how many of us could exchange a trust of never assaulting an officer again in lieu of jail time?

  3. Black Lives Matter movement, requires that police be trained to “de-escalate interactions with the public,”

    By “de-escalate” does that mean not escalate them in the first place?

    1. Shooting the perp puts an immediate end to any escalation.

  4. A bill introduced this year by state Rep. James White (D-Austin) would prohibit arrests for legal violations that are not punishable by jail sentences.

    How is this even a thing??

    1. Try googling “contempt of cop”.

    2. Say you commit a crime that is punishable by a fine. The cop has you dead to rights and even you admit that you will owe the fine but you refuse to give the cop your name. Without identification, the state lacks the means to assess the fine or even to serve you of your obligation to show up in court for your case. (Depending on your jurisdiction, not identifying yourself when a cop asks is either not a crime or is only another minor crime.)

      You think this is great because now you’re going to get away with your original minor crime. That would defeat the purpose of the law. So generally, yes, cops can arrest you even for minor violations if that’s the minimum necessary way to get you into the system so justice for the original minor crime can be served.

      1. A an act, by definition, that is only punishable by a fine, is not a crime in the technical sense, but a violation. In that scenario you would be required to provide identification in order for the fine to be served. Refusing to provide the ID would then be a crime which could trigger arrest. There are no circumstances where it makes sense to arrest someone for a violation.

  5. A 2017 law that Texas legislators passed in response to Bland’s death, which became a leading exhibit for the Black Lives Matter movement, requires that police be trained to “de-escalate interactions with the public,”

    De-escalation training is pointless without a policy of de-escalation and real consequences to individual officers for violating that policy.

    1. Part of the problem here is that cities who investigate these cops have ZERO interest in finding any wrongdoing. In a sane world, any cop who violates policy should then suffer the consequences of that violation, including being culpable for any damages. In reality, even if the cop violates clear policy and training, the city will still be sued and have to pay for damages. So why should the city create these policies, and why should they find that the cop did anything wrong? Instead, they have vague policies and they find evidence that the victim did something wrong. That leaves any plaintiff forced to establish that the policies in the first place are wrong, and that would require a much broader case.

  6. >>>”de-escalate interactions with the public,”

    de-escalate interactions w/the anger from their pasts first.

  7. Her speech was infringing on his safe space therefore she committed violence against an officer and should be jailed.

    Is that how it works these days?

  8. It is sad that the 80% of bad cops give the 20% of good cops a bad name.

    1. If the good cops aren’t speaking out about the bad cops, they’re not good cops. That takes the percentage up to 100% for bad cops.

  9. Cops fear for their safety 24/7, so that’s a legit defense no matter what was currently in her hands. Cuffed and locked in the back seat they’re still afraid if the perp, so may need to brake check a few times to remain vigilant.

  10. Of course he was a thin skinned militaristic pig. Police training has to change.

    1. Military cops actually have rules and procedures that they follow. And if a MP fucks up they get hammered.

  11. I mean, fine. Resolve this open question, but the woman still killed herself, right?

  12. Article conveniently leaves out the part where Bland kicks (or tries to kick) the officer. That’s assault, and it precedes every physical action the officer took.

    1. If I was being kidnapped by a psycopath, I might be inclined to employ kicking

  13. Fucking pigs.
    Americans need to start shooting them first.
    #AllLivesMatter

  14. Oh, and Mindscape, take the salty pig nuts out of your mouth. Pigfucker.

  15. Anyone know Encinia’s height and weight? Or where he is now and what he’s doing for money? Searching doesn’t turn up anything much about him – like his info is a state secret or something.

  16. “A bill introduced this year by state Rep. James White (D-Austin) would prohibit arrests for legal violations that are not punishable by jail sentences.”
    Problem is every time cops assault someone the victim is charged with resisting arrest which is punishable by a jail sentence.

  17. If the Dems keep trying to ban oil and electricity, Brian Encinia will be a shoo-in for Republican Lt. Governor should (Heaven forfend) anything happen to the current Gee-Oh-Pee Lt. Governor, Dan Patrick, who is angling to ban the Libertarian party. Dan made Texas history for being the first Lt. Governor to have ever been cursed in rather than sworn in.

  18. […] and abused to torment people when officers get angry over any challenge to their authority (See: Sandra Bland). But at least one terrible tool used to milk citizens out of their money is taking the exit […]

  19. […] and abused to torment people when officers get angry over any challenge to their authority (See: Sandra Bland). But at least one terrible tool used to milk citizens out of their money is taking the exit […]

  20. […] and abused to torment people when officers get angry over any challenge to their authority (See: Sandra Bland). But at least one terrible tool used to milk citizens out of their money is taking the exit […]

  21. From Wikipedia:

    “Bland had at least ten previous traffic-related encounters with police in Illinois and Texas, and had been charged five times for driving without insurance, four times for speeding, and once each for driving while intoxicated and drug possession. Her final conviction was for shoplifting, and she owed $7,579 in unpaid fines at the time of her death.”…

    “On July 22, county officials produced intake forms that they say indicate Bland had earlier attempted suicide.[34] One questionnaire states that Bland took pills in 2015 after having a miscarriage.[62] Another form filed by a different jail employee says Bland attempted suicide earlier, in 2014. One form indicates Bland had contemplated suicide within the past year, while another says she did not.[34]”

    “Bland had … 25 to 30 healing, parallel cuts on her left forearm that predated her arrest.”…

    “Toxicology
    An initial toxicology report released by the Harris County medical examiner’s office found “a remarkably high concentration” of THC for someone who had been in jail for three days, leading to speculation that Bland may have had access to marijuana while in jail. Waller County assistant district attorney, Warren Diepraam said that it was more likely that Bland had ingested a very large amount of marijuana prior to her arrest. A toxicologist for the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office agreed, indicating a THC level as high as Bland’s suggests she “either had access to the drug in jail or she was a consistent user of the drug and her body had accumulated THC to the point that it was slowly releasing it over time.” But he added: “I have never seen a report in the literature or from any other source of residual THC that high three days after someone stops using the drug.”

    ———————————————————————————————————–

    I think the officer overreacted, but it’s a long stretch to implicate him with her death. Sounds like she was looking for an excuse to end her life. And she found it.

  22. […] and abused to torment people when officers get angry over any challenge to their authority (See: Sandra Bland). But at least one terrible tool used to milk citizens out of their money is taking the exit […]

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