Following the disclosure Tuesday of a new video taken by Sandra Bland, presidential candidates Beto O’Rourke and Julian Castro called on authorities to re-open her case. Bland was the 28-year old African-American woman arrested in 2015 for a traffic stop outside of Houston who later took her own life in a jail cell.
The video, Castro wrote on Twitter, is “compelling proof” that the officer lied, “that Sandra Bland posed no threat.” O’Rourke said “[t]here must be full accountability and justice.”
The video, unearthed by the Investigative Network and broadcast on Dallas’ WFAA last night, undercuts Trooper Brian Encina claim in the case that he was worried about his safety.
In the video, the officer, with Taser in hand, shouts for Bland to “Get out of the car.”
“I will light you up,” he warned.
The 2015 incident led to the Texas law, the Sandra Bland Act, requiring de-escalation efforts for all police officers. On Tuesday State Rep. Garnet Coleman of Houston called for state officials, including the attorney general’s office, to testify before his committee on the newly public video evidence.
“[T]he Texas Department of Public Safety should have immediately and voluntarily released Sandra Bland’s phone recording to the public,” said Andre Segura, legal director for the ACLU of Texas in a statement. “Recording an officer is a constitutional right; not a crime warranting threats. This new video presents Ms. Bland’s own view of the officer’s severe misconduct, including needlessly escalating the situation, misuse of a taser gun, and threatening language. Most importantly, it shows that Ms. Bland was not engaging in dangerous behavior.”
This is a developing story.