Dashcam video from Sandra Bland arrest released

The Press has a good writeup. I’m just going to quote the two bits of transcript they provided:

Sandra Bland

“What’s wrong?” the trooper asked as he delivered Bland her ticket. “You seem very irritated.”

“I really am, because I feel like it’s crap for what I’m getting a ticket for,” Bland said. “I was getting out of your way. You were speeding and tailing me, so I move over and you stop me. So yeah, I am a little irritated.”

“Are you done?” the trooper said.

“You asked me what was wrong and I told you,” Bland said.

“OK,” the officer said. “You mind putting out your cigarette please?”

“I’m in my car, why do I have to put out my cigarette?”

“Well,” the officer said, “you can step out now.”

“I don’t have to,” Bland said.

“Step out.”

Emphasis mine. Right there, the cop should have said “Have a nice day” and walked away. I’m sorry, but any cop who can’t handle a little mouthy frustration from someone who just got a ticket they don’t think they deserved shouldn’t have a badge and a gun. He escalated the situation. There was no need to tell her to put out her cigarette, and no justification at all for telling her to get out of the car when she justifiably told him No. And it gets worse from there:

“You do not have the right to do that,” Bland says.

“I do have the right, now step out or I will remove you,” the officer says.

“I am getting removed for a failure to signal?”

“I am giving you a lawful order. Get outta the car now.”

“I’m calling my lawyer.”

“I’m gonna yank you out of here,” the officer said, while leaning over and reaching into the car.

“Don’t touch me! I’m not under arrest,” Bland says.

“You are under arrest,” the officer says.

“For what? For what?”

There’s a pause. The officer does not answer.

“Get out of the car, now!”

Bland walks out of the car and around the back, as directed by the officer. The rest takes place off camera, though you can hear what’s going on.

“You feeling good about yourself?” she says. “You feel good about yourself? Why will you not tell me what’s going on? Ya’ll bitch asses scared. That’s it.”

Then there is a shuffling sound, and Bland screams, “You’re about to fucking break my wrist!”

Then Bland screams.

“Stop… moving… now!” the officer shouts. “Stop it!”

Bland begins to cry. Through sobs, she says, “For a traffic signal… for a fucking traffic signal. I can’t feel my arm.”

“You’re going to jail,” the officer says. “For resisting arrest.”

Unbelievable. And completely unacceptable. Even more, as the Trib reports, what can be seen contradicts the officer’s account of what happened. I don’t know what happened to Sandra Bland – we may never know for sure – but the one thing I do know is that Sandra Bland should never have been in jail in the first place. That is the root cause of what happened. And it’s as clear an illustration of what the #BlackLivesMatter protesters have been talking about all along as one could see. This is what needs to be fixed. Daily Kos has more.

UPDATE: Lisa Falkenberg has more.

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5 Responses to Dashcam video from Sandra Bland arrest released

  1. Terrance says:

    The problem here is that she questioned his authority and the cop was going to show her who was in charge. This is a major problem with our police force. To make the problem worse is that cops never face punishment for their actions. Cops are not held accountable for their action in a court of law and its almost impossible to fire a cop. I wish this was an issue in the mayoral race this year.

  2. C.L. says:

    You’re in a car, you get pulled over, it doesn’t matter why you were pulled over, it doesn’t matter how shi**y of a week or day you’ve had – if the Officer requests anything of you, you comply. Soon as you don’t, bad things will almost always be the result. I don’t know if Ms. Bland hung herself in her jail cell, but I do understand why she was there. I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around a possible motive for killing her by the Police Dept., especially since the one’s monitoring her ‘existence’ in the jail cell weren’t the same ones who put her there to begin with.

  3. mollusk says:

    “You’re in a car, you get pulled over, it doesn’t matter why you were pulled over, it doesn’t matter how shi**y of a week or day you’ve had – if the Officer requests anything of you, you comply. Soon as you don’t, bad things will almost always be the result.”

    That sums up the problem… the misuse of power and authority. From what I saw on that section of the video, he went from asking her to put out the cigarette to full on Rambo about to “light (her) up” in a heartbeat or two.

    Sorry, sir/ma’am, but it IS part of the cop’s job to maintain a level head in situations far, far more threatening than this one. Sure, it’s a common courtesy to put out a cigarette when anyone asks. However, from the moment those flashing lights go on, reaching around to do anything other than park the car, put on the hazards, and shut off the motor is likely to make any police officer concerned that you may be reaching for a gun, or hiding stuff, or whatever – even if you’re a middle aged white person in a nice car.

    It’s hard to perceive her stop as resulting from anything other than DWB (driving while black). I’ve been driving around this area for decades. Like all good Houstonians my signaling lane changes is a regulation that’s more honored in the breach – but I NEVER got pulled over for it, even back when I was an obviously suspicious looking long haired hippy type freak. Then again, my appearance is about as white bread as they come.

  4. Bill Daniels says:

    Kuff, I don’t always agree with you, but you hit the nail on the head here. Watching the video, the street was pretty deserted, yet as soon as the trooper was done with the previous stop, he whipped around, making a U-turn to tail Bland. It looked like she failed to use her turn signal for the right hand turn that put her on the street, but it doesn’t seem like the trooper saw that. All he saw was, “next victim, please, and he followed her until she did something wrong. What precipitated the pursuit in the first place? Out of state plate, maybe?

    He asked her why she was upset. So she told him, in a calm tone, without profanity. You can see the trooper stiffen up, taking umbrage with what she said. She only said what most of us think when we get stopped, yet do not say.

    As to the request to extinguish the cigarette, it’s interesting that that demand wasn’t made before she answered his question about what was wrong. If the cigarette was such a problem, why wasn’t that request the first thing out of his mouth? It seems like it was only a problem after she told him in a calm voice, what she thought about the stop.

    I’d like to see that trooper fired. He has no business having a gun and a license to kill if hearing the truth offends him so.

  5. Pingback: Sandra Bland’s death ruled a suicide – Off the Kuff

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