Warning: viewer discretion advised.
HAMPSTEAD, Texas (July 21, 2015)– A newly released dashcam video documents how a routine traffic stop escalated into a shouting confrontation between a Texas state trooper and Sandra Bland that led to the woman’s arrest.
The video posted online Tuesday by the Texas Department of Public Safety shows the trooper stopping Bland for failure to signal a lane change. After he hands her a ticket, the trooper remarks that Bland seemed irritated. Bland says she was irritated because she was ticketed after changing lanes to get out of the path of the trooper’s car.
Words are exchanged, including the trooper’s request that Bland put out a cigarette. Bland says she can smoke in her own car. The trooper then orders her to step out of her car.
Bland refuses, and the trooper tells her she is under arrest. Further refusals brought the trooper’s threat to “drag” her from the car. He then pulls what appears to be a weapon and says, “I will light you up.”
When she steps out, the trooper orders her to the side of the road. There, the confrontation continues off camera but is still audible.
The 28-year-old Bland was found hanging in her jail cell three days after the incident.
Judge Trey Duhon says District Attorney Elton Mathis told Bland’s mother and sister that while evidence indicates Bland killed herself, the prosecutor intends to treat the death “no differently than a murder investigation” where “no stone is left unturned.”
In the affidavit released Tuesday, trooper Brian Encinia said he then used force “to subdue Bland to the ground,” and she continued to fight back. He arrested her for assault on a public servant.
State records show Encinia has been a trooper for the Texas Department of Public Safety for just over a year.