MENU

Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

Sandra Bland's Death in Jail: All For Not Putting out a Cigarette When Illegitimately Ordered to by Cop

Cop's chilling declaration: "You should have thought of that before you start resisting."

The dashcam video of when and how the police ended up dragging Sandra Bland out of her car in Texas, then sending her to jail where she died, is circulating, and it's as appalling as anyone could have guessed.

This is the modern police state, as we've been warning/revealing to you for many years here. The police have an array of ridiculously petty reasons to begin interacting with us, all intended just to get money from us. (In this case, lane change with failure to signal.)

Once such an interaction begins, the cop can and will order you to do anything he wants for any reason he wants.

If you resist, he will physically assault you and arrest you and, in this case, essentially kill you as Bland died in jail, an alleged suicide now being investigated as murder, as Matt Welch wrote earlier today.

Here are edited portions of the dialog starting around 8:45 of the video below between Sandra Bland and Officer Brian Encina. The transcription is mine, and might be rough. It skips a bit, noted by ellipses. (You can hear it all yourself below.)

Officer Brian Encina (while writing ticket): You seem very irritated.

Sandra Bland: I am, I really am.....(something slightly unintelligible, about how she was just "getting out of your way")

Encina: Are you done?

Bland: You asked me what was wrong and I told you....

Encina: Mind putting out your cigarette please?

Bland: I'm in my car, why do I have to put out my cigarette?

Encina: You can step on out now.

Bland: I don't have to step out of my car.

Encina: Step out of the car....

Bland: You do not have the right....

Encina: Now step out or I will remove you...I'm giving you a lawful order get out of the car now or I'm gonna remove you...

Bland: I'm calling my lawyer.

Encina: I'm gonna yank you out of here....

Bland: Don't touch me, I'm not under arrest.

Encina: You are under arrest.

Bland: I'm under arrest for what ? For what?...

Encina: Get out of the car now!

Bland: Why am I being apprehended?

Encina: I'm gonna drag you out of there....I will light you up!

Bland: Wow...failure to signal, doing all this for failure to signal?

Encina: Get off the phone, put your phone down...right now.....

Bland: For a fucking failure to signal my goodness y'all are very interesting....feeling good about yourself don't you?....Why am I being arrested, why won't you tell me that part?.....

Encina: You are not compliant.

Bland: Not compliant cause you just pulled me out of my car....

Encina: If you would have just listened...stop moving!

Bland: I can't wait til we go to court...ooh I cant wait....You gonna throw me to the floor? Feel better about yourself?....

Encina: Now you're going to jail!...

Bland: You about to break my wrist....about to fucking break my wrists.....

Encina: You started creating the problems!...You are yanking around, when you pull away from me you're resisting arrest.....

Bland: For a traffic ticket...for a traffic ticket!....Gonna slam me, knock my head into the ground. I got epilepsy motherfucker...

Encina: Good, good.

A new female cop on scene: You should have thought about that before you start resisting.

Then the cop starts telling a citizen filming, for no legal reason, that he has to leave. That citizen was the source of the earlier video, which started with Bland already out of her car and under submission. This dashcam video keeps going, and contains later on what some people think are obvious edits in the video, with the same cars coming by making the same moves and cars straight-up disappearing before our eyes. That is all long after the portion I'm transcribing above, though.

[UPDATE: The Texas Department of Public Safety swears no deliberate editing was done, and that the obvious glitches are a result of some unspecified technical kerfuffle involved in uploading. I am not technically qualified to judge whether that's a load of crap or not.]

Ms. Bland never got the day in court she was, rightly, looking forward to.

The video. [UPDATE: The version I originally linked to was removed by user for some reason. Here is another version, same timing]:

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Evil Midnight Woodchipper||

    Once upon a time I was able to watch these.

    Now, not so much.

  • josh||

    ^^THIS

  • CatoTheChipper||

    ^^^^ THIS SQUARED

  • AFSlade||

    I can't watch it. How bad is it?

  • AlgerHiss||

    I had to stop watching any of these videos a couple of years ago as I simply become so upset. I still seek these out, as there are scads of them that show up daily, but I just read the narratives and the comments.

  • Gene||

    The transcript is enough for me.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    "I'm gonna light you up."

    Right there in the handbook.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Look dude, it says right there in the police field manual that proper action for all Terry stops is to stomp on a human face forever.

  • commodious spittoon||

    I really wanted to smirk at this. I tried.

  • AlgerHiss||

    And....EVERY stop is a Terry Stop.

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    Nope. "I'm gonna drag you out of there....I will light you up!" is not in the manual. You can do it, but not get caught saying it on video. This guy screwed up.

    I'm going to make a very balsy early call here. This cop will be facing federal charges. Laugh if you will, but this is what it takes.

  • Sevo||

    Playa, I'm going to hope that you're right. Hope, not presume.

  • SIV||

    Federal charges would be nice but this shit isn't going to stop until we revive the venerable practice of lynching.

  • Winston||

    Federal charges would be nice but this shit isn't going to stop until we revive the venerable practice of lynching.

    How Ironic.

    You subpoena is in the mail.

  • Mr. Paulbotto||

    Wasn't this a lynching?

  • bolus||

    Hooray for federal control of police! You're introducing snakes to get rid of your rabbit problem with no concern for the snake problem thereby created.

  • IceTrey||

    Which is a weird thing to say considering he just told her to put out her cigarette.

  • Res ipsa loquitur||

    Look, the fucking cop was trying to save her worthless life by getting her to quit smoking !!! What don't you fucking anarchist understand !!!!11!1!

  • Napoleon Bonoparte||

  • josh||

    the surgeon general was right. smoking kills.

  • josh||

    i also love how other cops, when they arrive after the worst of it, just assume the person is complaining because they're simply jerks or worse. it couldn't possibly be that they might want to ask some questions of their fellow officer.

  • modurhead||

    mob mentality, she had zero chance of being treated fairly

  • josh||

    i also love how other cops, when they arrive after the worst of it, just assume the person is complaining because they're simply jerks or worse. it couldn't possibly be that they might want to ask some questions of their fellow officer.

  • Winston||

    This is the modern police state, as we've been warning/revealing to you for many years here.

    Put we have gay marriage, how is that possible?

    Also is Brian saying that the US is a police state? Either this is crying wolf hyperbole (so it should be stopped) or he should stop beating around the bush and say that freedom in America is dead and resistance (of whatever sort) is needed.

  • Scarecrow & WoodChipper Repair||

    No, America is a police state, but there are degrees. We're not Nazi Germany are Stalinist Russia, but when the police can arrest you for anything at an time in any place, when their word counts more than dashcam and cell phone videos, and when police have qualified immunity and prosecutors have absolute immunity, then yes, it's a police state of lesser degree.

  • Winston||

    I always find the dichotomy on this site between the "Libertarian Moment is at hand!" people and the "AmeriKKKa IS a Police State!" people rather amusing.

    That said I'm not sure how far the US is from outright dictatorship. I don't really know how anyone can stop it if a President actually decides to become a dictator. The courts, congress and the media certainly won't.

  • SIV||

    That said I'm not sure how far the US is from outright dictatorship.

    Long past. Fortunately it is still a "soft dictatorship" but we are long past changing anything short off some sort of significant civilly-disobedient resistance or sabotage. Or worse.

  • Winston||

    So you think the US is a Dictablanda? Or an illiberal democracy (and yes this definition of "illiberal" is of the old style)?

  • Scarecrow & WoodChipper Repair||

    I sometimes think that technological change will sidestep government, much as secular government has sidestepped the church.

    Used to be, churches ran things, even if they had to use kings as intermediaries. Then governments began gaining power for their own sake, wanted to be in charge and tell the church leadership to go take a hike.

    Technology has been changing things, accelerated now from computers and the internet. Bitcoin is the most radical change, but the proliferation of news sites, even if they are mostly gossip and conspiracy theories, has pulled the rug out form under government.

    So I wonder if technology will create an alternative society where government simply can't hold sway. The secular government world will continue to exist, just as churches still exist even if they are not the dominant power. Government will continue to make all sorts of trouble, throw people in jail, etc, but when people have far more invested in social networks and can work over the internet, as robots and automation and 3D printers replace huge factories and other infrastructure and daily life becomes less amenable to government oversight and control and confiscation, maybe government will wither and be pushed aside, like the church was.

  • mfckr||

    Like you, I'm usually an optimist that tech will create an increasingly stateless society. But then I'm also mindful that govt and its corporatist servitors will use tech for their own ends too—namely in ways that erode personal privacy, such as forcing people to submit to increasingly onerous background checks underpinned by ever-sophisticating databasing analytics; for instance, think about all the myriad ways one's medical information can already be (intentionally or incidentally) perused and used.

    Thus it's also easy for me to envision a technocratic dystopia emerging wherein people become essentially controlled by their own information. And the state essentially becomes gatekeeper to mainstream society, imposing ever-tighter restrictions over access to things like legit employment (obviously this is already true to an extent if you were a felon, or even just have bad credit).

  • DRM||

    Well, do you mean like the old Roman dictators-for-a-fixed-term (in which case we're pretty close already), or do you mean someone who declares himself President-for-Life?

    If the former, yeah, we're pretty close, and could step over the line pretty easily. The latter, nah, ain't gonna happen.

    The major obstacles are that the states run elections (not the Feds), and that the US military really won't take orders to openly cancel elections. Combined with the firewall of the Electoral College making it impossible to elect a President by stuffing the ballot box in any one one-party state, regular, genuinely contested, approximately-honest elections between Red and Blue candidates for dictator will go forward for the foreseeable future.

  • bolus||

    That said I'm not sure how far the US is from outright dictatorship. I don't really know how anyone can stop it if a President actually decides to become a dictator. The courts, congress and the media certainly won't.

    Not sure about the media, but Congress and the courts would not accept losing all their power. And the prez can't do squat without cooperation from federal LEAs and the military. Even as bad as federal LEAs have gotten, I don't think they would go along with that.

  • Hugh Akston||

    1% of America's population is behind bars at any given time—far more than any other developed country. Surveillance cameras and traffic monitors are proliferating faster than college-educated white people. The simple act of flying on an airplane requires you to submit to processing not unlike the kind convicted criminals endure when being sent to prison. Citizens have no legal recourse against having their homes invaded, property destroyed, and possessions taken by cops. Police officers can gang up and murder people in the streets with impunity. National agencies are monitoring your every phone call, credit card purchase, and bank deposit, and sharing that information with local thugs.

    In what way is the US not a police state?

  • Sevo||

    "1% of America's population is behind bars at any given time—far more than any other developed country."
    I'll take your word on the percentage, since a lefty acquaintance once pointed out the number of US folks in jail; he was right.
    Pathetic. And I see neither D nor R politicos concerned about it.

  • Hugh Akston||

    It's apparently only around .7% (~710/100k) But that beats out Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Iran, Russia, and Cuba.

  • Wasteland Wanderer||

    Not sure I'd take the word of Russia or Cuba on something like that....

    Still, .7% is way too damn high.

  • Winston||

    So time to stop beating around the bush. The libertarian moment is not upon us and the ballot box won't save us. Real resistance is needed.

  • Rob||

    I agree the libertarian moment is not upon us, but be cautious in calling for real resistance. Should the United States see a second revolution I doubt it's leaders will have been inspired by a deep desire for liberty. The best thing would be for people to simply start saying "no". Plain old civil disobedience. Ignore every petty law, and force government to act.

  • JeremyR||

    And yet, illegal aliens are free to come and go and more or less do whatever they want with impunity.

  • Sevo||

    "And yet, illegal aliens are free to come and go and more or less do whatever they want with impunity."
    Did you lose your job to Juan who is better at it than you are?

  • Hugh Akston||

    Hey man, scrubbing toilets at El Pollo Loco isn't as easy as it looks.

  • Paul.||

    And yet, illegal aliens are free to come and go and more or less do whatever they want with impunity.

    Are you comparing immigrants to cops?

  • bolus||

    I like how you use the comparison to other developed countries for the incarceration rate, then forget about it for all the subsequent complaints, in which the US is actually freer than most other developed countries.

  • Scarecrow & WoodChipper Repair||

    Good thing she didn't buy that loose from Eric Garner. It would have been conspiracy to assault police officers with his throat and her wrist.

  • Sevo||

    BTW, if the CHP wanted to make a handsome ROI, citing people for failure to signal a lane change on I-5 between SF and LA would do just fine. Somehow, I doubt the lane change was really the issue here.

  • JeremyR||

    I've gotten pulled over for that.

    I've gotten pulled over for not driving with two hands on a wheel (which I don't think is even a thing).

    Usually they just want to know what you are up to.

    It's ridiculous and infuriating, but being polite is the way to go.

  • Sevo||

    Gotta ask where you drive.
    I do signal lane changes, even if no one is there, simply by habit, but I've seen people wandering from lane to lane in CA with no attention from the CHP that I've ever seen.

  • Nick W B||

    People speed all the time without getting ticketed, that doesn't mean cops never hand out speeding tickets.
    I'm skeptical that the original stop was sinister in any way. It does appear the cop was just going to give her a warning, but then didn't like her attitude when he told her to put out the cigarette so he decided to threaten to taze her and throw her against the ground.

    He belongs nowhere near a badge and gun, that much is clear. I don't know if the arrest could be argued to be technically legit (I'm neither a lawyer nor a Texan, so I don't know what laws would apply), but if he becomes that upset when confronted by a perfectly normal reaction to being pulled over (who the hell isn't irritated when they get pulled over) he's in the wrong line of work.

  • Brochettaward||

    The thing is, plenty of cops respond to attitude that way. They view hauling someone off to jail and making them bond out and rack up ridiculous fines to be a minor, trifling affair.

    This wasn't the first time he behaved like this. It's just the one that blew up in his face.

  • SIV||

    Real resistance is needed.

    The only way that happens is to provoke an egregious over-reaction by the state through perfectly legal action, doing something that was perfectly legal up until last week, or non-violent civil disobedience. Preferably to a predominately sympathetic demographic. Ideally in multiple locations, over time

  • Rob||

    +1 Henry David Thoreau

  • Paul.||

    It's ridiculous and infuriating, but being polite is the way to go.

    Because the consequences of being snippy is being hanged in a jail cell.

    No, we're not afraid of the state. Not at all. We're just being "polite".

  • DRM||

    My parents were really clear to me that the reason you're polite to cops is that it's dangerous to be anything else.

    Of course, that might have some bearing on how I wound up in this comment section.

  • Woodchip-o-Matic 5000||

    Yeah, one of the best pieces of advice I ever got from my dad: Never sass a cop. You can get recourse later, but they're looking for an excuse to beat the shit out of you.

  • JuiceHog||

    Exactly. Got pulled over recently for having my brights on with my parents-in-law in the car with me. They were surprised how deferential and polite I was with the police, since they know (but don't share) my political views (burn it to the ground anarchism). I'm not trying to be a martyr.

  • modurhead||

    Hes from the government and hes here to protect you

  • bolus||

    Because the consequences of being snippy is being hanged in a jail cell.

    There's no evidence she was hanged by anyone but herself.

  • Pathogen||

    "if the CHP wanted to make a handsome ROI, citing people for failure to signal a lane change on I-5 between SF and LA would do just fine."

    I suspect it has much to do with the city/neighborhood, and the time of day or night. Rent seeking on behalf of the bureaucrats they serve... without getting shot in the face, is a rational cop's primary directive...

  • Winston||

    So I was reading about the histories of Portugal and Spain. There were a lot of criticisms of a corrupt two party system that alternated in power (Sound familiar?). In Portugal this was ended by the Republican Revolution which lead to an infamously unstable government rocked by military coups and other political violence which was finally replaced by a military dictatorship that turned into Salazar's regime.

    In Spain this system was ended by a Military regime whose collapse lead to a Republican regime which in turn lead to the Civil War which lead to Franco's regime.

    Oh and the regimes that replaced Franco and Salazar are now two of the PIIGS. Fills me with optimism.

  • Peaceboner||

    I think the two party system is optimal. And I'm not kidding.

  • Pathogen||

    If there was a discernible difference between the two, I could begrudgingly accept it...

  • Rob||

    Just like debating whether Pepsi or Coke is better. We spend a lot of time talking about how different they are, but they are still both cola and not really all that different.

  • crab_apple||

    Everyone gets diabetes in the end.

  • NebulousFocus||

    Not sure if this has been posted yet, so here is a dissection of the Tim Hunt mob action. Remember, it's all about the narrative.

  • Christophe||

    Record every public event, even if you never intend to make the recording available. It's the only defense.

  • G+ (formerly GILMORE)||

    Is there any evidence this woman didn't kill herself?

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    This handle change is suspicious. Say something that Gilmore would say.

  • G+ (formerly GILMORE)||

    Some motherfucker took plain old GILMORE away from me by registering that shit when it was left fallow....

    Fuck that dick. I think they did it because i'm blacker than they are

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    Oh shit. You have enemies.

  • Person of Pallor||

    I smell an inside job.

  • G+ (formerly GILMORE)||

    duh.

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    G-

  • G+ (formerly GILMORE)||

    that's so unkind

  • G+ (formerly GILMORE)||

    But thanks for the reminder, buddy

  • IceTrey||

  • The Shrubber's Woodchipper||

    I cannot understand the stupidity of the Texas Department of Public Safety in releasing edited dashcam footage. You would think that they would either throw the cop under the bus or claim 'camera malfunction' and not release any video. How can anyone believe anything they have to say about the investigation now? If the cut footage shows incriminating evidence, which one has to assume, the Texas Department of Public Safety is involved in a conspiracy. Being Texas and the current climate, I would expect Federal indictments from the Justice Department. Unfortunately the racial angle will be the driving narrative, not the out of control police abuse. While I could believe that her race had something to do about her being pulled over, that cop would have acted like that to anyone.

    Her death in jail? I don't know what to think about that. I'm glad to see that it's being looked at as a possible murder but until I see some evidence to the contrary, I'm going to assume that she chose to martyr herself for her cause. If any evidence of foul play is discovered, I expect a shitstorm of proportions never seen in my lifetime.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Once a police officer assaults a person out of obvious anger or frustration, he's no longer acting with authority. At that point, it's just a fight between two people. He should lose all legal protections special to law enforcement.

  • Woodchip-o-Matic 5000||

    Agreed 100%

  • jester||

    Under arrest but no Miranda rights read. Of course: 'anything you say, can and will be [edited to fit the narrative] used in ...'
    Horrible stuff. Again we will never know what happened because the evidence has been scrubbed and such. To protect and serve, my ass. if we are lucky at least several scumbags will lose their badges but I doubt Ms Bland will get justice.

  • Hayeksplosives||

    "If you would have just listened..."

    He says that like it's completely out of his hands at that point, like he didn't *want* to keep going but alas she has committed them both to the path. What BS.

  • Juvenile Bluster||

    "Why do you make me hit you?"

    Given that police officers have a much higher incidence rate of domestic violence than the general population, it fits.

  • Cloudbuster||

    You have it all wrong. She was hitting herself:

    https://youtu.be/_CFzCBbOXKc

  • AlmightyJB||

    Oink oink oink

  • sasob||

    A new female cop on scene: You should have thought about that before you start resisting.

    The female cops are often worse than the males.

  • Lee G||

    In their minds, they feel the need to prove something.

  • Ted Shred||

    Criminal charges for would-be perps should be automatically dismissed if dashcam recordings show evidence of tampering or "editing".

  • Emily Rose||

    There's nothing unintelligible about what she says, it's all fairly clear in the recording, and his tone and "you done?" illustrates the condescending tone she was responding to. Transcription of her comments:

    “You seem very irritated.”

    “I am. I really am, because I feel like this stop, what I’m 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 yeah, I am a little irritated, but that doesn’t stop you from giving me a ticket, so…”

    “Are you done?”

    “You asked me what was wrong and I told you.”

    “Okay.”

    “So now I’m done, yeah.”

    “Okay. You mind putting out your cigarette?”

  • Todd Gilbert||

    This site is constantly anti cop. Just step out of the fucking car! Blacks alway's refuse to comply and then complain when shit happens. She's a douch.

  • Black Citizen||

    Hmmm...funny. I'm black and I comply.

    Guess your theory is flawed.

  • lovelydestruction||

    Texas sheriff involved in the death of Sandra Bland fired from previous post for racism

    Waller County Sheriff Glenn Smith, who made the first public comments about Bland's in-custody death, was suspended for documented cases of racismwhen he was chief of police in Hempstead, Texas, in 2007. After serving his suspension, more complaints of racism came in, and Smith was actually fired as chief of police in Hempstead:

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online