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Sandra Bland was pulled over in Texas for a traffic violation, arrested for allegedly assaulting a state trooper, and three days later, found dead in her jail cell. An autopsy ruled her death a suicide, but her friends and family don’t believe that, and there have been too many mysterious deaths of black people at the hands of police for this not to look suspicious. And now that Texas officials have released the dashcam video of Bland’s arrest, absolutely nothing is settled.

Texas officials released police dashcam video Tuesday, showing Sandra Bland’s traffic stop and arrest on July 10. While it doesn’t offer the least bit of insight into how she ended up dead in a Waller County Jail cell three days later, it raises all sorts of Internet-scorching WTF questions about how Bland ended up in that jail cell in the first place.

It’s a pretty depressing clusterfuck that could have been de-escalated at several points in the encounter, but just got worse and worse. We’ll let The Guardian do the play-by-play on the video’s contents:

In the supplied video, trooper Brian Encinia’s police car, pulling away from an earlier traffic stop, does a U-turn and follows Bland’s car for about 30 seconds, stopping her after her car changes lanes to the right without signalling.

After telling Bland why she has been stopped, asking some questions and then walking away, apparently to complete paperwork or make inquiries, the officer returns.

And yes, some of those questions seem somewhat intrusive for a lane change without signaling — how long have you been in Texas? Where are you headed from here? — but not all that out of the ordinary for a traffic stop.

Things start to go completely to crap when Encinia returns to Bland’s car. Once he established that Bland’s ID and insurance were in order and that she had no warrants for overdue library books, he could have brightened her day and avoided having his name in the national media by saying, “Ma’am, I’m going to give you a warning for changing lanes without signaling, and you have a nice day now.” And maybe someday Sandra Bland would have gotten her name in a local paper when she was promoted to a prestigious position at Prairie View A&M University, the end.

But that’s not what happened. In the video, yes, Sandra Bland was fuming, and already had An Attitude, which is never a good strategy when Officer Not Very Friendly comes up to your driver’s side window. We’re absolutely not saying that Bland had no reason to be angry, or that what transpired during her arrest somehow justifies her death, if it turns out not to have been, as police say, a suicide. It certainly does NOT. Fuming at a cop is not a crime punishable by death, as far we are aware.

Things got worse from there:

“You seem very irritated,” he says at one point after returning.

“I am, I really am,” she replies, “because I feel like it’s crap is what I’m getting a ticket for, I was getting out of your way, you were speeding up, tailing me so I moved over and you stopped me so yeah, I am a little irritated but that doesn’t stop you from giving me a ticket, so.”

The stop escalates into an aggressive confrontation when Encinia asks her: “You mind putting out your cigarette please, if you don’t mind.” She replies: “I’m in my car, why do I have to put out my cigarette?” The officer tells her: “Well, you can step on out now.”

And here’s where Officer Encinia has to go straight into Full Asshole Respect My Authoriteh mode — starting with his snotty “Are you done?” — because now Bland is resisting, and all hope of communication is gone. It’s about power now, and the mouthy black lady has to be put in her place for disobeying a lawful (if petty) order. Yes, cops can in fact tell you to put out your cigarette in your own car during a traffic stop, because they don’t want to be facing an angry person with a burning-hot object in their hands. But they don’t have to, especially if they’re planning on giving you a warning and sending you on your way. Even here, if Encinia had simply let Bland’s questioning of his order slide and given her that warning, everything would have been over. He had a choice, and he made a crappy one: He instantly lost his shit and ordered Bland to get out of her car.

And yep, that’s legal too. According to Supreme Court decisions in 1977 and 1997, police can indeed order you out of your car during a traffic stop, even if they have no reason to think you’ve committed a crime. So Encinia is technically, assholishly correct as he keeps yelling that he gave Bland a lawful order. Once he pulls his taser and threatens, “I will light you up,” she complies.

And sure, Bland could have put out her cigarette and said, “Sir, yessir.” But as Nick Wing at HuffPo points out, Encinia, the person with the badge and the gun, is the professional who needed to behave professionally here:

[To] place the responsibility on Bland is to treat Encinia like an undisciplined tinder box, programmed to explode when a spark sets him off. This was an unusual and distressing encounter for Bland, as interactions with police tend to be for many individuals. Encinia could tell that Bland was irritated, and says as much in a later conversation with his supervisor that can be heard on the video. Prior to the cigarette confrontation, Bland tells the trooper she feels she was pulled over unfairly, and says she only switched lanes to get out of his way as he sped up behind her.

For Encinia, dealing with people like Bland is his job — a difficult one at that, in which citizens can be rude and unappreciative. And part of that job is to de-escalate tension.

Encinia completely failed there, and even the Texas Department of Public Safety (tentatively and bureaucratically) could see that, as the Chicago Tribune reports. Encinia has been put on leave for “violating unspecified police procedures and the Department of Public Safety’s courtesy policy,” and while the DPS didn’t answer reporters’ questions about whether pulling the stun gun or dragging Bland out of the car were justified, DPS director Steven McCraw said:

Regardless of the situation — it doesn’t matter where it happens — a DPS state trooper has got an obligation to exhibit professionalism and be courteous … and that wasn’t the case in this situation[.]

As we say, this video doesn’t tell us a single thing about whether Sandra Bland committed suicide or was murdered. And Encinia was the one who had the responsibility to not escalate into Bastard Cop Mode. Civilians have the right to be pissed about getting pulled over by a cop, especially when they think they did nothing wrong, though the sad reality is that it’s probably best to smile and nod and save the yelling for later. And no, that’s not fair or just, but it’s better than giving a cop an excuse to bust you for resisting. We are reminded of the sad — and completely unjust, god dammit, yet seemingly necessary — advice New York Mayor Bill de Blasio gave his son on how to survive a police stop when you’re a black human being in post-racial America:

“What parents have done for decades who have children of color, especially young men of color, is train them to be very careful when they have …an encounter with a police officer,” de Blasio said on ABC’s “This Week.” […]

“With Dante, very early on, we said, ‘Look, if a police officer stops you, do everything he tells you to do. Don’t move suddenly. Don’t reach for your cellphone,’” said deBlasio. “Because we knew, sadly, there’s a greater chance it might be misinterpreted if it was a young man of color.”

No one should have to fear cops, and maybe they wouldn’t, if cops stopped giving them a reason to be afraid they might get beaten up or shot or somehow end up dead in police custody, as happens to African-Americans ALL THE TIME. Sandra Bland refused to be afraid, though, as this video clearly shows. And maybe that’s why she was really arrested.

Finally, there’s the question about the bizarre video glitches in the aftermath of the arrest. As Encinia talks to his supervisor, there’s this white car that keeps driving into the frame and then vanishing, or turning left, only to reappear once more, over and over, as the audio continues uninterrupted.

The Internet has decided that this is deceptive editing, though what on earth it would be covering up we can’t imagine, as Bland had already been taken into custody at that point. Texas officials say it’s a glitch resulting from the uploading of the video, and that they will re-upload the video without errors and make DVDs available to the press — all of which ignores the perfectly reasonable likelihood that the white car is actually a TARDIS. Or just a momentary red herring in a story where the real investigation needs to focus on what happened to Sandra Bland in that jail cell.

[The Guardian / Chicago Tribune / HuffPo / Ben Norton]

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  • kindness

    Tejas…..shit. How much money do we have to give Mexico to take it back?

    • elviouslyqueer

      ALL of it, Katie. To the very single last goddamn penny.

    • dshwa

      I’m pretty sure Mexico has called “no give backs” by now.

  • Indiepalin

    I’m waiting for the digitally remastered director’s cut, with audio commentary by TV’s Loni Anderson.

  • Beowoof14
  • I got no snark on this one. It makes me want to vomit. It will take very clear, unambiguous evidence to convince me that she killed herself, and even then I will blame the police department because, as this post so ably explains, she should never have been taken into custody in the first place.

    • Beowoof14

      I get it, the authoritarian stain of policing in Texas is frightening.

      • eddi

        The authoritarian stain of policing in the USA is frightening.

    • AngryBlakGuy

      …b-b-b-but she was rude! And the police have a tough job!!!

    • darnyoudarnyoutoheck

      Just give her the darned ticket you puffed-up officious man. Also, too doesn’t tossing someone in the hoosegow cost $$$ ? Shouldn’t the bean counters be objecting to this stuff even when people aren’t suing?

    • cessnadriver

      The fact that the cop even ordered her to put out her cigarette proves that he was not through messing with her.

  • Beowoof14

    Having been arrested in Texas for the crime of driving my Honda with NY plates through on I-10, and then getting out of jail and being pulled over a few more times for the same crime, I am prejudiced on the side of Bland here. And my honest advice, don’t drive a car with Yankee plates through Texas they’re still fighting the civil war.

    • cessnadriver

      California plates can be a problem. I drove through Vail during the whole Kobe Bryant thing and got lots of nasty stares.

      • kindness

        I’ve been advised to rent a car in New Mexico and drive through Texas rather than drive my California plated car there. Probably good advice as those Texas Troopers to love to fuck with DFH states folks,

    • Beaumarchais?

      Hell, I don’t even book flights over that hellhole, in case my plane crashes.

  • VandeGraf

    The cop, Encinia, should be stripped of his badge and put out onto the street. He is psychologically unfit to carry a badge or government issued weapons. Bland should have shut up and behaved. The storm trooper stops you and you get in his face, there’s nothing but trouble in it for you. She certainly got no satisfaction. In fact, she got dead. But–stay tuned– that’s on the next episode.

    • Steverino247

      The Empire Strikes Back?

  • Ryan Denniston

    Ok, we got us a “bad apple” in Mississippi, we got us another “bad apple” in Texas. Whatdya say Florida? Feel like making it a hat trick? Or, maybe don’t, this stuff is depressing enough.

    • VandeGraf

      Let’s hold a Bad Apple contest. Probably be a million contestants, you roll guards and wardens in with the cops. Policing is a tough job, and hard to find candidates, especially if you have to be fit for it.

    • AngryKatie

      Please don’t challenge Florida. You must know by now that there’s a statewide propensity for insane responses to pretty much any challenge.

      Who knows what kind of terror you could be unleashing.

      • PirateCafe

        No doubt! I’m like, “Bite your tongue, @Ryan!” LOL

    • cessnadriver

      In defense of Tejas: they did acquit themselves well both in the bikers-at-the-boobie-bar incident and in being pro-active while guarding that hate-the-muslims event. Credit where credit is due.

      • slongo

        “bikers-at-the-boobie-bar incident”…not the one in Waco where a lot of us think the cops shot mostly everybody in an out of control orgasm of lead and are covering something up? Not the Waco biker massacre? You aren’t giving cops credit for that, unless you mean the body count, right?

        • cessnadriver

          Yes, that incident. It was a mess, but the cops were pro-active an no non-combatants seem to have been harmed.

    • It’s weird how they keep going for the “bad apple” defense considering what the aphorism about bad apples actually says.

      • doktorzoom

        It could be more of a problem with the barrel.

  • alnnc

    My question is why did he make the u-turn and speed up to catch her. Had he already picked her out? Or was he just trawling for tickets. Looks to me like he alreadyhad her in his sights and employed those standard police tactics of rapidly approaching you, the tailgating until you goof up.

    • sw19womble

      If he has a quota, then yes, in all probability his shift consisted of driving up and down, generating revenue.

      • OneYieldRegular

        As was demonstrated in Ferguson, this is a primary function played by far too many police departments: as roving revenue generators who use their authority for extortion. Loretta Lynch should order a full Federal investigation of this department.

    • eddi

      Her skin color was a magnet to him.

      • cessnadriver

        With all the attention from RWAC media on Chicago, this clown must have thought he’d hit the jackpot: black with Illinois plates!

    • r m reddicks

      Considering the various risks I’ll mention that racist cops are often looking for “a fine black gal”. I had an acquaintance from my h.s. days who went on to become a cop in Louisville, KY. They finally caught him after he had pulled over a number of women of color (apparently any color was fine) driving by themselves and raped them. I recall that he was actually convicted but I don’t recall the sentence.

    • Snopes Shop

      Trawling for tickets. It’s a classic dick move.

  • Halcyon

    If I can go all Tin-foil hat here, the editing during the “glitch” seems to be designed to extend the length of the video and add in some new audio. Listen to what’s being said during that part: It’s the officer justifying his actions with the bit about how he “tried to de-escalate the situation” and gave her “plenty of time to calm down.” My theory would be that he was in fact saying something hilariously racist or otherwise awful in the original video, and this was put in instead. Less awfully, maybe he just said nothing at all and this was added in after-the-fact as a justification.

    • marxalot

      That sounds depressingly plausible.

  • cousin itt

    Glitches happen. You have to line up the sprockets with the holes in the film just right or, when you load it up on the projector it will slip.

  • marxalot

    Fuck.

    • Msgr_Moment

      My avatar wants to ghey marry you, but is worried about surviving the honeymoon.

    • Blank Ron

      Not helping quite as much tonight.

  • Brazilian Fart Porn

    If I may point out, when he returns to the first car, he says, “This is a warning. There is no fine and you don’t have to appear in court.” (or something along those lines. With Bland, he returns to her car, says “Sign here. Do you have a problem?” It was a warning citation for her, too. It probably would have taken some of the steam out of her anger had she known that. And he can’t arrest her for not liking her answer to his questions!

  • AngryBlakGuy

    …for those of you wondering what the combination of “racism” and “lazy policing” look like, I give you exhibit A:

    Lazy Policing: Instead of police officers actually investigating serious crimes they focus on little crimes in the hope of STUMBLING upon something larger! This officer even admitted that he wasn’t going to issue Ms. Bland a citation, so what is the purpose of even making the stop? He was hoping that when she wined down the window he would see signs of larger crime. This is a ridiculous waste of time because the vast majority of the people you pull over are going to be law abiding citizens

    Racism: the racism component comes in, with the fact that “Lazy Policing” is almost exclusively practiced in minority neighborhoods. I’m a perfect example of this! I own drive a European luxury car and live in a predominately white neighborhood. When I bought the vehicle it had “illegal” tints on the window, I never had them removed because frankly I like ability to pick my nose without anyone seeing me. Not once have I EVER been stopped in my neighborhood for anything! However I have been pulled over for “illegL” tints 3 times in 3 different minority neighborhoods! They have never issued me a ticket instead they ask me different variations of “what are you doing in this neighborhood”.

    As I said in earlier post, prior to the release of this video, this asshole has nearly non-existent probable cause to have arrested this woman.

  • Latverian Diplomat

    Once he pulls his taser and threatens, “I will light you up,” she complies.

    This is an example of an officer using a taser as a torture device, and threatening to inflict pain on someone to get compliance. That should be a criminal offense right there.

    Tasers are ostensibly life savers that are alternatives to shooting a dangerous suspect, but in fact, this is the way they are used in practice, and no opportunity to shoot someone seems to be passed over in favor of taser use anyway. It’s disgusting.

    • cessnadriver

      Tasers were sold to us as an alternative to deadly force. They are used as electrotorture devices. The use needs to be severely constrained.

  • Good_Gawd_Yall

    I’m not sure it even matters exactly what the manner of Bland’s death is at this point. She should not have been in jail for a WEEKEND for a minor traffic offense. When DWB is a death-penalty offense, we should all be very, very afraid of what this country is becoming.

  • eggsacklywright

    Why she no respeck officer Cartman’s authoritah?

  • Latverian Diplomat

    Texas officials say it’s a glitch resulting from the uploading of the video, and that they will re-upload the video without errors and make DVDs available to the press

    i.e., “The people in charge of doctoring the video have been sacked. A new, better fake will be available shortly. We regret the inconvenience (to ourselves).”

    • SnarkTank

      Where’s Ralph the Wonder Llama when you need him?

  • sw19womble

    Even if it’s suicide, she wouldn’t have killed herself if
    a. she hadn’t been forcefully arrested in the first place
    b. given some bullshit bail figure that she couldn’t possibly have raised easily (or god forbid, simply released under her own promise)
    c. she had been properly kept an eye on, in jail, whilst under their supervision and duty of care.

    Fail. Fail. Fail.

    • OneYieldRegular

      Fail. Fail. Fail Manslaughter. Manslaughter. Maybe even murder.

  • Spotts1701

    Yeah, that really doesn’t illuminate much other than the amazing difference in manner and tone between stops that this officer employed.

    • sw19womble

      Come now, he simply suddenly became really really irritated between the first stop and the second.
      Any fool can see that!

  • Ambignostic

    All those white cars look alike to me.

  • Tendernob

    The sloppy video looping would make even Keanu Reeves cringe.

    • cessnadriver

      Video looping with contiguous audio just doesn’t happen.

  • rodnchance

    Why did the pi* er–I mean nice cop, pull a u turn to follow her in the first place, was it his turn to supply the weekend entertainment at the jail house? He was obviously after her BEFORE she switched lanes.

  • goonemeritus

    I once had a constable take a sarcastic tone with me before
    letting me off for doing 55 in a 30 zone so this may not be about race.

    • cessnadriver

      This is about race. If you listen to the racist creep try to weasel out of it you can tell that he knows he did something bad.

      • marxalot

        That was snark, dear. el Goon was being sarcastic.

      • goonemeritus

        I guess you missed my attempt at humor, (25 miles over the
        speed limit no ticket vs failure to signal lane change, call in the SWAT team). Of course race had something to do with this. I also don’t doubt having Illinois plates didn’t help.

    • slongo

      Aha I get it now. Yeah, I was speeding around at 1 am out of cigs. Got stopped…got ‘be careful out here”. No nothing. I feel pretty lucky right now. Knock wood.

      • goonemeritus

        I credit my smart decision to be born white.

        • slongo

          Yeah, me too. I was surprised he didn’t give me a ticket. I was speeding. Jonesing for smokes. Ohhhhh, come to think of it, it must have been close to two am, because I remember him saying that the bars were letting out. Awww, he was concerned for me. Or wanted me to get the hell off the street before the rush.
          I feel torn between emotions. I was afforded a courtesy. There was nothing to tip it into conflict but everyone else’s stories start just as innocuously. I’m white, I was in the wrong but it was inconvenient for the cop. He just checked license, registration and tipped his hat.
          I don’t recall that he wrote even a warning, but he must have. Totally calm interaction at 2:00 am. I wasn’t alarmed. He wasn’t alarmed.
          Then I pretend I was a black woman or even better, a black man…same situation. I can’t help but feel a sense of dread.

  • OrdinaryJoe

    Texas says, “OK, Mississippi. We’ll see your choked out drug paranoid incoherent rambling white guy with asthma on his way home as a passenger in the car with his wife and raise you a young mentally fragile black woman confronted by an angry monster white cop for changing lanes on a nearly empty road without a signal who threatens her with the use of bodily force, torture weapons and slams her head to the ground while arresting her for nothing.”

    • r m reddicks

      Lawdy. I don’t want to see the raise.

  • sw19womble

    [insert nice glitch here]

    • Hardly Ideal

      Please please PLEASE don’t let me see a headline about her getting tazed for (admittedly) reckless driving…!

  • proudgrampa

    wrong, wrong, WRONG!!!

  • Marc

    This is really sad. The cop is obviously a bully with a badge. People need to be careful when dealing with these assholes. Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor. Your first priority needs to be to survive the encounter.

    In my mind it is not implausible for that video to have been doctored (apparently by the same guy who did the Watergate tapes). That cop never tried to de-escalate the situation. With all the times Ms. Bland called him a pussy I don’t find it too hard to believe he and/or his buds visited Ms. Bland while in jail. It’s a favorite past time of crackers to lynch ‘uppity blacks’.

    Where was this cop when Ms. Bland was hanged?

  • Doug White

    It’s all about the autopsies… and specifically the differences between the official one conducted by the state and the private one authorized by the family….

  • BeliTsari

    ( ) Many jurisdictions are negligent in hiring officers with some pretty scary psych issues?
    ( ) There’s an election year coming up, so Black folks are in season?
    ( ) LAW Enforcement is not simply a job, it’s an OCCUPATION!
    ( ) This is nothing NOT reported, circa 1964, by Redd Fox & LaWanda Page.
    ( ) All of the above.

  • whatwhomever

    “dick Texas cop”

    all these words mean the same thing in this context. Should have been edited to be more concise.

  • Treat any encounter with the police the way you would treat any other encounter with an armed gang member who might decide to kill you or have his friend jump you on a whim.

    You can’t tell the difference between good cops and bad cops by looking at them and the line between a bad cop and a criminal is practically non-existent.

    • Seek

      I just don’t speak to them. Hand them my license,registration and Insurance card and say NOTHING. They hate it but fuck that.

    • Beaumarchais?

      obverse and reverse of the same coin.

    • malsperanza

      But all praise and respect to Sandra Bland, who was not going to take that shit, that harassing, violent, mindless shit from a white man to a black woman. All respect to her for saying, “Not today; no. I will not.”

  • Callyson

    If we’re going to pull people over for failing to signal, at least half of the LAPD officers would be ticketed. I’d guess the ratio in Texas is pretty similar…

    • cessnadriver

      After having recently helped an elderly friend take the driving test, I became more sensitized to traffic laws. I followed a cop the other day and counted the violations-about 15 in just a few blocks.

    • Hardly Ideal

      Nevermind how many overtake at breakneck speeds, just to beat us to the next red light.

      I swear to whatever anthropomorphic god may be listening, driving a Charger as a police car is going to their heads.

      • Dee Andee

        When my car broke down, the cops in my college town were nice enough to drive me to a hotel, since I couldn’t get home and it was bitterly cold. He sailed right through a red light and laughed. “What they gonna do? Pull me over?”

  • cessnadriver

    They always have an excuse. Ruben Carter’s case comes to mind. OJ Simpson was attacked with a gun in a parking lot-he chased the assailant and called 911. They said they had the assailant spotted by helicopter and ordered OJ to back off.

    Turns out they lied. Oh, and the recording of OJ’s call to 911 (which went to the CHP) miraculously disappeared. Technical glitch . Not the call before or the call after or all the calls on all the other CHP lines recorded at the same time on the same tape. Just that one call. A call about a gun crime.

  • Usedtobeyellerdawg

    Haven’t gone through the comments yet, so forgive me if this is a repeat:

    I wonder how many white people got pulled over that day for not signalling a lane change? I have been in Texas for my entire driving lifetime, and I can tell you for a certain fact that signalling a lane change is seen as optional; used when necessary, but not as a matter of course. I use my signal when I need to get someone’s attention; if I need for them to make room for me, or if I’m in stopped traffic and need to get over for a turn, but not generally. I have been driving that way for 35 years and have never been stopped for a failure to signal.

    • AngryBlakGuy

      …my guess is damn well near ZERO!!! The police almost exclusively use this tactic in minority neighborhoods. This type of “stop and frisk” type of policing would get an officer fired in a predominantly white neighborhood

      • Usedtobeyellerdawg

        Seems like that would be an easy statistic to run, and at least peripherally related to the case.

      • Markuserektus

        As someone else mentioned; out of state plates, minor infraction, person of color driving= fishing expedition.

    • Oblios_Cap

      Shit, on the state highways, you pass on the right. The whole state’s messed up.

      • Dee Andee

        Shit, in South Dakota the damn cops pass on the right. At least in Pierre they do.

    • MIDSOUTH

      as an aside, at the end of the video (version 2), and once the tow truck driver leaves with Ms. Bland’s car, the trooper is left alone but still has his dashcam on. There can be seen a pick up truck in the left lane pass the trooper and then move into the right lane without signaling the lane change. Just thought that was ironic-at the end of this video.

  • PirateCafe

    There should be only one penalty for pigs who do this. I won’t say it because I like posting here.

  • Cismontane

    Driving in TX while brown, with IL plates.. just don’t do it. Don’t even think about it.

    • PirateCafe

      And don’t be uppity!

    • Anarchy Pony

      Cops are usually very suspicious of out of state plates, especially if it’s not a state that borders theirs. That plus blah is a sure way to get in some quota chasing dbag’s sights.

      • cessnadriver

        Dirtbag killer of Mr. Martin was tooling through Texas with FL plates armed and belligerent….he got a verbal warning and was sent on his way. The cop never even asked to see the gun.

        I do wonder what the difference is.

        • Wombat

          It’s a mystery. We will probably never know.

    • cessnadriver

      Yet when they stopped the murderer of Trayvon Martin while he was tooling through Texas speeding and armed, they let him go with a warning. Even AFTER the creep told the cop he didn’t know where he was, what he was doing and where he was going.

    • cmb

      That’s right. Obama’s from IL!

  • toomanyrappers

    More money and better employment screening would help with this.

    • spacecat in space

      Not hiring and promoting members of the KKK would also help.

      • toomanyrappers

        Essentially, stop hiring Republicans. ;)

        • spacecat in space

          I was almost going to be nice and write, “Oh, well, not all Republicans,” but then I thought it over for half of a millisecond, and eff that noise.

          • Dee Andee

            Exactamundo.

    • Wombat

      Taking that whole max IQ thing off the table — you know, the one where they won’t hire people for some police forces if they are too smart — would help also too.

  • Ilgattomorte

    I’ve got nothing.
    It’s too damn sad, too damn frequent and too few people are wiling to see the flip side of their own ingrained opinions on the subject. So, we do too damn little to fix it.

    • Pugsandcoffee

      That is because we have somehow, as an entire country, decided that the opposite opinion on ANYTHING is as valid as its counterpart and deserves fair hearing and ample time, to the point where we’re led to believe this kind of shit is absolutely a 50/50 argument. Anyone with critical thinking skills knows it’s not, but then again, I don’t think anyone believes even half of this country is capable of critical thinking.

      • Dee Andee

        I’ve thought this too. I think having back-up is important in this, meaning, because people are online and making their opinions known, they’re finding other people who agree with them, even if their opinions are shit and totally wrong. In the past they’d get deflated by those around them pretty quickly. But they have a ‘community’ backing them up now, so they are thinking they actually must be right, since someone, somewhere, agrees with them. Hence the proliferation of hate on places like reddit, and the MRA BS.

  • cessnadriver

    One thing on this recording that people are not discussing: the fact that the cop moves the victim away from the sight range of the dash cam.

    Of course they have an excuse….

  • automaticpilot

    See, if the blahs didn’t change lanes, this would have never happened.

    • Hardly Ideal

      To borrow from John Oliver’s show about Internet harassment, you can prevent burglaries by not having a house. You ever think of that?

  • splashy79

    Having grown up in Florida as a poor person, even though I am a blue-eyed white, the early conditioning was to never interact with the police at all if you could possibly avoid it, because they were sure to find a reason to arrest you whether you did anything wrong or not. The only people they actually helped and served were the wealthy whites. Everyone else was regarded as someone to extract money from.

    • Dee Andee

      Gawd, Florida especially. And for gawd’s sake don’t get caught actually trying to WALK anywhere.

  • Pugsandcoffee

    That was a man itching for a confrontation. Plain and simple. He was looking for an opportunity and, sadly, she baited him into it. Again, not her fault. This is the thing ALWAYS lost by the “thin blue line” people who don’t seem capable of entertaining a nuanced thought about supporting law enforcement while demanding change and making the process and the people better: police officers HAVE TO BE BETTER. They have to be. Otherwise, they are jack-booted thugs who are out to shake everyone down and exert their power over people who are powerless to stop them.

    • Dee Andee

      All I know in this past year is, that that odd, guilty, gut feeling I’ve always had whenever I see a police car was absolutely justified, even if I was doing nothing wrong. Trying to train myself not to care was a mistake. It would be twice the mistake if I were brown.

  • NotReveen

    This article seems to suggest that a request is the same as an order (with regard to extinguishing the cigarette.) Is that right?

  • MaxUdargo

    Asking her to put out the cigarette was unnecessary and really seems like the request was made because he knew she would balk at it and it would give him an excuse to escalate. I know I shouldn’t be reading the guy’s mind from a video, and I appreciate Doc’s even-handed and restrained analysis, but it’s hard to see this as anything but bullying under cover of authority, and that does have implications for what might have happened later.

    • doktorzoom

      Oh, it was definitely a dick move– agree with you there. Legal and designed to provoke.

      • Beaumarchais?

        One can easily imagine that cops discuss this kind of stuff amongst themselves a lot.

        • slongo

          With chubbies

      • hexabyte

        A dick move but probably NOT legal.

        First of all, it was request, not an order, so for that reason alone she did not have to comply.

        But more importantly, Texas law officials themselves are not certain it could be considered a lawful order:

        “It’s not unusual for an officer to ask someone to put out their
        cigarette or hang up their phone, that sort of thing,” said attorney
        Margo Frasier, the police monitor for Austin, Texas. “The question
        becomes whether they can make you do it.”

        Frasier, the former
        sheriff of Texas’s Travis County, added: “If you are in your own vehicle
        — assuming it’s a tobacco cigarette — and the officer asks you to put
        it out, I don’t know of any statute that would require you to do it.”

    • If she’d tossed it out the window, he could’ve cited her for littering or “assaulting” him. If she’d reached to the ashtray, he could say he was defending himself because she might have been going for a gun.

    • AustenFuego

      I would say that it started with the, “You seem very irritated” comment. What are you hoping to uncover with that? The transaction is basically over at this point right? Hand her the warning and wish her well on her day. Why say that and give her the option to say something that might piss you off?

      I really just feels like he was looking for a fight.

      • slongo

        …and salivating…

      • KT

        Precisely. That is a standard line when a cop isn’t done fishing for more.

    • I smoke like a chimney when I’m nervous – including at traffic stops or during other interactions with cops. At no point in the last 20 years has a cop ever asked me to put out my cigarette during a traffic stop or in my house or on the freaking sidewalk. Never. Not that I interact with them a lot – but I’d say there’s a traffic stop or some other minor interaction at least once a year on average. And if I’m talking to a cop, I’m probably also reaching for, lighting, or actively smoking a cigarette. Never a problem. I’m just saying. I don’t believe “put out the cigarette ” is SOP. So what reason could there be for it? He clearly wasn’t being threatened by her. He just told her to put it out to be a dick.

    • malsperanza

      That he was harassing her is not even a question. He took her to fucking jail and locked her in a cell for 3 days, after slamming her around.

  • It’s disquieting to realize that the teenager bagging my groceries is expected to behave more professionally toward the public than the police are.

  • OneYieldRegular

    Wonderful to see Texas Governor Greg Abbott exhibiting such sterling leadership with regard to this case. Or is he even aware of it?

    • pursang833

      Abbott is still spying on the military and making plans to invade Arkansas. He’d much rather invade liberal Illinois but darn it, that’s just too far.

  • Seaside

    Do you get the feeling that today they would have shot Rosa Parks for not moving?

    • slongo

      She refused to comply…resisted…and reached for her waistband.

  • Markuserektus

    Contempt of cop gone wrong. NYPD is on the hook again also, too.

  • House0fTheBlueLights

    I sometimes run a thought problem to myself called “what if I were black?” It involves something normal thing– crossing the street in the middle of the block, talking to a child, sticking my hand in my pocket, scowling in the direction of a police officer, walking out of a store without buying something– and wondering, what if?

    • YayConspiracy

      Freeze! What the hell you think you’re doing?

    • slongo

      “I will light you up!”

  • YayConspiracy

    A toxic mix of being ‘tough on crime’, the idea that the authorities are always right, the idea of ‘those people’ and some seriously unstable personalities; A recipe for tragedy.

    • cmb

      Yes, where the “crime” is blacks not groveling or not groveling quickly enough.

      • Celtic_Gnome

        You don’t want to grovel too quickly. Remember the guy who lunged back toward his car to get his ID to comply with the officer and moved a little too fast? That didn’t end well.

        • spacecat in space

          It’s basically, “Don’t be black if cops are around if you don’t want to be murdered by said cops.” Which means Key & Peele need to start selling those whiteface hoodies ASAP.

          Also too in addition, can we please now gather these KKKops, shove them in one of those tends-to-explode Space X rockets, and send them off to police the sunny side of Mercury?

        • Takoma DC

          Well he lived and is thankfully fine. And I’m fairly certain the officer was almost immediately fired and has since been arrested. I also believe the victim was awarded a nice amount of money, or will be shortly.

      • Takoma DC

        Yes and a black uppity vagina person at that. Sandra Bland is my hero. I wish so badly this situation would have gone another way. A scenario in which Bland would be healthy and alive and vindicated. And that asshole officer fired, arrested, and sentenced to a few years in prison for all the laws he broke when he profiled Sandra Bland, attacked Sandra Bland, arrested Sandra Bland and then had the balls to try and cover up his crimes by lying and falsifying his police report (as well as lied to his superior on the phone and this audio can be heard in the dashcam video). Bless Sandra Bland and all the other courageous women who don’t take shit from immature narcissistic unprofessional violent sexist racist police officers.

  • CripesAmighty

    To infuriating for snark. This fucker went fishing, and Bland wasn’t gonna be reeled in like a dead flounder. Hey, black helicopter types–looking for a conspiracy? Might wanna look over here.

    • Lord-Nash

      Just what I was thinking. The department was obviously smart enough to develop a ‘Courtesy Policy’ because they knew shit like this would happen. If he had kept his cool while she lost her shit, she would have gone her way and at worst would have been an anonymous driver we laugh at on an episode of ‘America’s Funniest Traffic Stops’.

    • malsperanza

      Exactly. Cops pull over black people for phony driving infractions and then try to create an excuse to search their cars – either for drugs, or to plant drugs, or to find cash that can be asset-forfeitured.

  • SadDemInTex

    I suspect that the suicide will turn out to be “restraint gone wrong”. They were probably choking her and later “arranged” a belt around her neck.

  • Legion32

    America: Land of the Free (until you decide to speak up against a cop) and Home of the Brave (just don’t think about standing your ground with a cop). This shit has got to stop. Every day, it’s one of these stories and the same usual suspects – cops on a serious power trip. There are so many decent cops in my town and most of us appreciate the hell out of what they do. But dudes like this…beyond words. This bright young lady would be alive today if that one cop wasn’t looking for a fight and it’s obvious that’s exactly what he was out to do from the moment he realized she wasn’t going to kiss his ass.

    • Greg Comlish

      The profession attracts those who crave authority and power and it fails to weed those individuals out. Even during D.A.R.E. I saw edgy, power-tripping cops getting in the face of 6th graders who didn’t toe the line.

  • MisterRichPeoples

    Did Sandra Bland suffer a concussion during the arrest? Concussion victims can suddenly die if not treated properly. How much medical attention did Ms. Bland receive after being arrested?

    • doktorzoom

      Police say they offered to take her to a hospital but she declined. Can’t see any reason not to believe every word they say about that, either…

    • malsperanza

      She apparently had epilepsy. Perhaps she had a seizure and choked, due to being locked in a fucking cell for 3 days and ignored, and then her death was made to look like a suicide. That’s my most charitable scenario.

  • Lord-Nash

    Police have released this photo of her CO while she was in jail.

    • slongo

      Pornstar!

  • Takoma DC

    I’m not a lawyer but from what I heard from legal experts on both NPR and MSNBC, the officer did in fact NOT have the legal right to demand Bland extinguish her cigarette. And the officer only had the legal authority to demand Bland exit her car IF he felt his life was in danger. Clearly this was not the case and so this asshole cop broke a whole lotta’ laws. You can also hear him lying to his superior while chatting with him/her on the phone. You can hear part of the conversation after he attacks Bland (out of view of the dashcam) he leaves Bland with a female officer. Then he’s back in view and you can clearly hear him telling his superior that the only reason he requested Bland exit the car was because he wanted her to “sign” something. This guy is a horrible police officer. And anyone defending him, instead of this innocent victim, is an asshole. Sandra Bland was not taking any of his shit. She knew her rights. I wish so badly that her doors would have been locked and her window not down all the way. I wish so badly she could have phoned for assistance from professional police. Or that she would have phoned the media. What are we supposed to do? This guy is a racist sexist immature piece of shit. I know for a fact, there are hundreds if not thousands of guys like him in law enforcement.

  • Wendy Keymont

    He’s a liar!

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