Behold the mysterious case of Sandra Bland, a woman driving alone who was pulled over in Waller County, Texas for relatively minor infractions: she blew through a stop sign on what seems to be a deserted highway except for the police car. According to the cop's dashcam, he sped up and did a quick u-turn in order to follow Ms. Bland. When she changed lanes to the right, possibly to allow the speeding officer to pass her, she didn't use her turn signal and the same cop pulled her over.
From there, it just gets worse and worse. Yes, she argued with cop Brian Encinia, asking why she was being pulled over. This apparently outraged Encinia, who kept asking Bland to get out of her car and threatened her with a taser is she didn't comply. When she finally got out of the car, he carefully led her out of camera view and there ensued an altercation in which Ms. Bland was screaming about having her head slammed into the ground. Then she was arrested.
That was last Friday.
By Monday morning she was dead in the Waller County Jail. Of suicide.
“You're doing all of this for a failure to signal?” Dash-cam footage of #SandraBland's arrest has been released: https://t.co/Qj5k4kYLZE— AJ+ (@ajplus) July 22, 2015
Video 2. #SandraBland is far away but the officer mashes the gas to catch up to her. She changes lanes as a courtesy pic.twitter.com/OOOYWvjEp5— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) July 22, 2015
From the Texas Tribune
Late Tuesday, DPS released dashboard camera video of the stop, which showed in graphic detail Trooper Brian Encinia losing his temper, threatening to Taser Bland and ultimately arresting her after she refused to put out a cigarette and come out of her vehicle.
"Get out of the car, now!" Encinia is seen yelling. "I will light you up." Bland is combative during much of the encounter, demanding answers from Encinia, calling him names and disobeying his instructions.
Three days later, Bland was found hanged to death inside the Waller County Jail. Her death was ruled a suicide by the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences and the autopsy report, which has not been released, was forwarded to Waller County authorities who plan to take Bland's case to a grand jury.
Trooper omits his nonsensical insistence #SandraBland put out her cigarette and his illegal brandishing of taser in his report #SandraBland— Lisa Bloom (@LisaBloom) July 22, 2015
Just noticed deep into the arrest video of #SandraBland, the arresting officer tells colleague he doesn't even know what to charge her with— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) July 22, 2015
More from the Texas Tribune
According to the mental health questionnaire filled out by the Waller County Sheriff's office during her booking, a deputy marked "yes" to the question: "Have you ever attempted suicide?"
The deputy also wrote "Lost Baby" and "2015" in the boxes next to that answer.
Bland also indicated to the jailers that she had suffered a loss with the death of a godmother, and that she had been diagnosed with epilepsy and was taking an anti-seizure medication.
However, she was not placed on monitoring as a suicide risk during her three days in in jail, according to the sheriff and district attorney's offices. Using a standardized grid of risk factors, jailers classified Bland as a "medium" risk of assault or escape.
Now people are questioning whether Sandra was already deceased in her mugshot photo, pointing out that she looks lifeless and appears to be lying down, plus she is already wearing an orange jumpsuit. However, we know that she spoke to a local friend from her cell this weekend, and possibly family members. So it's unlikely the photo was taken of an already-deceased woman, but so far this case is so strange that anything is actually possible.
The fact that the video was edited and she's on the floor in her mugshot and may not be alive in it. Im so terrified and sad. #SandraBland— melanated goddess (@iselee) July 23, 2015
And here is the footage from when they apparently noticed that #SandraBland was no longer alive. pic.twitter.com/Qcjl7lC4rY— deray mckesson (@deray) July 22, 2015
#SandraBland's suicide attempt was this year, not 2014. She told jailers she was diagnosed with epilepsy, taking anti-seizure med, Keppra.— T.L. Langford (@tlangford) July 23, 2015
We've asked Waller Co why #SandraBland's MH form has "yes" to attempted suicide Q on one form and "No" to "Attempted Suicide? No answer.— T.L. Langford (@tlangford) July 23, 2015
Police said #SandraBland hung herself with the garbage bag yet when taking a crime scene pic the bag was still there. pic.twitter.com/m3l04fCGsG— Bipartisan Report (@Bipartisanism) July 22, 2015
Did you see that weak ass trash bag they claim #SandraBland hanged herself with? My old Coke cans would've broken through...— Goldie Taylor (@goldietaylor) July 22, 2015
To make matters even worse, when the state of Texas released the video of the arrest and altercation, the video had clearly been edited in a strange way, while the audio is never cut. So far they are just claiming technical "uploading difficulties." Then they released a video that was 3 minutes shorter...
Longer, With Anomalies and Cuts
2nd Version Released the Next Day
Without Cuts, Shorter
What's done in the dark will soon come to light #SandraBland— Jazzy♏️ (@_JasmineLaBria) July 23, 2015
Seen in Prairie View, Texas. #SandraBland (Photo: @latimes Houston Bureau Chief @mollyhf) pic.twitter.com/zRTaKm6nr2— AJ+ (@ajplus) July 22, 2015
If anyone ever tells you Twitter doesn't matter, there's no hope of justice for #SandraBland without it.— Jeff Fecke (@jkfecke) July 22, 2015
So cop in #SandraBland case made U-turn in middle of road to follow her, then stopped her when she didn't signal after moving out his way. 😐— Bree Newsome (@BreeNewsome) July 23, 2015
And why exactly did the cop do a u-turn in middle of street to follow #SandraBland in the first place?— Bree Newsome (@BreeNewsome) July 23, 2015
This officer escalated the situation. Violated Sandra Bland's constitutional rights. Lied about her actions & arrested her for nothing ..— Michael Cohen (@speechboy71) July 22, 2015
"If she would've obeyed the officer and didn't talk back she would be alive." So the punishment for asking questions is death? #SandraBland— B (@Breannaabee) July 22, 2015