An edited dash cam video released yesterday of Sandra Bland’s violent arrest shows TX State Trooper Brian Encinia flashing a taser and aggressively yelling “I will light you up,” as he attempts to rip Sandra from her car.1 He then arrests Sandra for no reason as she repeatedly calls for help, screaming "I can't feel my arm!" "you just slammed me, knocked my head in the ground. I got epilepsy," and later "I can't hear!" The video confirms that Officer Encinia lied. His illegal, discriminatory and violent behavior was excluded from the police report he submitted and at no point does Sandra "assault" him as he alleges.
Will you chip in $15 TODAY to hire a private investigator to investigate the Texas Department of Pubic Safety and Waller County Prosecutor and Sheriff? We need someone on the ground as soon as possible before evidence is lost.
The proof of a gross cover-up is mounting. Filmmakers and journalists say this latest video released by the police has been doctored. 2 The Texas State Troopers, the FBI or Waller County officials can't be trusted to actually investigate the truth. Your donation will help us to set up a Rapid Response Independent Investigation Fund so that we can launch our own investigations into incidents of racial profiling and police violence in Waller County and beyond. We can't depend on the police to police themselves.
1. "‘I will light you up!': Texas officer threatened Sandra Bland with Taser during traffic stop," Washintgon Post 07-22-15
2. "Dashcam Video of Violent Arrest of Sandra Bland Was Edited," AlterNet 07-22-15
It’s been eight days since Sandra was found dead in her jail cell and we still don't know what led to her tragic death. What we do know is deeply disturbing. Yesterday, the police dash cam video of Sandra's arrest was released. Texas State Trooper Brian Encinia can be seen arresting and violently attacking Sandra for no reason while she repeatedly asks why.2
Despite more than 100,000 ColorOfChange members and their allies urging the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate, the DOJ has yet to take action. As of right now, the Texas State Troopers, Waller County District Attorney and Sheriff’s office are leading three separate investigations into the case — but they are the same groups responsible for Sandra's violent arrest and deadly incarceration.
We all know that police cannot police themselves and Waller County officials seem to be trying to cover up Sandra's tragic death. Instead of releasing official footage of Sandra's arrest and detention, they are focused on blaming Sandra for her own death. Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis and Sheriff Glenn Smith have a history of discrimination and racism. Now, we must take matters into our own hands.
Will you chip in $15 TODAY to hire a private investigator to investigate the Texas Department of Pubic Safety and Waller County Prosecutor and Sheriff? We need someone on the ground as soon as possible before things are covered up.
Last week, we saw Waller County officials begin to victim-blame and criminalize Sandra, deflecting any responsibility they had in her death. Sheriff Glenn Smith described Sandra as “combative.”3 However, eyewitness video shows the complete opposite; Sandra is the one being assaulted by police. Additionally, District Attorney Mathis is considering Sandra’s Facebook videos where she mentions suffering from “a little bit of depression, as well as PTSD” as a motive for suicide.4 This is nothing new. We've seen officials use the same victim blaming tactics to describe Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Rekia Boyd and countless other Black victims of police violence.
What's more, DA Mathis and Sheriff Smith both have a history of racism and misconduct toward Black residents in Texas. Sheriff Smith was even fired from his last job as police chief in Hempstead, TX due to complaints of racism.5 In a justice system that routinely targets, harms and kills Black people, we know Sandra faced unjust and harsh treatment at the hands of Texas law enforcement for the mere fact that she was a Black woman. Latest news reports also reveal that Waller County Jail officials did not follow protocol while Sandra was incarcerated.6
We need transparency and accountability. And we need it now! In the video of Sandra's arrest, some of her last words on camera are "thank you for recording. Thank you!” We know what would have happened if there was no video. However, because a courageous eye-witness took action and filmed the arrest, we have more power to fight for Sandra. We can do our best to bring justice to her name and those who are close to her. A private investigator will help provide the type of independent oversight we need to uncover the truth and hold those responsible for Sandra’s death fully accountable.
Please chip in $15 for a private investigator to investigate Waller County officials and to uncover the discriminatory practices in the area that lead to her untimely death.
Thanks and peace,
Rashad, Arisha, Shani, Lyla and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team
July 22nd, 2015
1. "‘I will light you up!': Texas officer threatened Sandra Bland with Taser during traffic stop," The Washington Post 07-22-15
2. "Civil Rights Organization Renews Calls for DOJ Investigation Following Dashcam Video of Sandra Bland’s Arrest," ColorOfChange 07-21-15
3. "Sheriff in Sandra Bland Case Was Fired in 2008 After Racism, Brutality Allegations", 07-16-15
4. "Sandra Bland May Have Suffered From Depression, PTSD", 07-17-15
5. "Prosecutor in Sandra Bland case, like Sheriff, has history of Racial Bias", 07-17-15
6. "Sandra Bland's Family's Lawyer Details Dashcam Video of Traffic Stop", 07-20-15
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