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Sandra Bland arrest video wasn’t edited, had technical problems, Texas officials say

Warning: Video contains graphic material. Excerpts of dashcam footage from Sandra Bland’s traffic stop. Listen to the officer call his sergeant and explain the situation after he arrests Sandra Bland. Released July 21, 2015. (Texas Department of Pub

A dash-cam video showing the confrontation between Sandra Bland and a Texas trooper during her arrest was not edited, and the apparent glitches in it were technical problems caused during the uploading process, the Texas Department of Public Safety said Wednesday morning. A new video will be uploaded later Wednesday, officials said.

The original video, released Tuesday, showed an angry, escalating confrontation on July 10 between Bland and Trooper Brian T. Encinia. Bland was arrested on suspicion of assaulting a public servant, a felony charge, and was taken to the Waller County Jail, where officials say she committed suicide in her cell on July 13. Her family and supporters question that finding.

In the video, which is more than 52 minutes long, there are several spots in which cars and people disappear and reappear. When it released the video, the Public Safety Department did not mention any editing. The audio ends more than a minute before the video images do.

One of the more conspicuous anomalies comes 25 minutes and five seconds into the video, when a man walks from a truck off screen and then reappears suddenly at the spot where he began walking. The image flutters for a moment before resuming.

There are no breaks in the audio during this time. People are heard talking through the video gaps.

In another spot at 32 minutes and 37 seconds, a white car appears on the left side of the screen and then disappears. A moment later, what appears to be the same car comes back into the frame and turns left. During this time, Encinia is talking about what occurred during the arrest. There are no breaks in his speech.

What look like the same cars keep appearing in the same locations, following their same paths, beginning at 33 minutes and 4 seconds.

Again, the audio continues uninterrupted.

The glitches in the video sparked a wave of skepticism and questions in social media, with many critics arguing that the evidence had been edited. The Rev. Hannah Bonner of St. John's United Methodist Church in Houston said she believes the criticism of the video is valid and troubling.

“The folks that are experts on film have already said it’s clear that it’s doctored,” Bonner said Wednesday. “That raises questions, even more questions than we already had,” she said, adding that she and others will continue their vigil outside the sheriff’s office in Hempstead, Texas.

In a statement mailed to reporters Wednesday morning, Tom Vinger, press secretary for the state police agency, said the video was unedited and blamed the problem on technology.

“The entire video was uploaded to include the audio and video of the conversation the trooper had by telephone with his sergeant, which occurred after the arrest. Some of the video that occurred during this conversation was affected in the upload and is being addressed. We are working to repost the dash-cam video,” he stated.

Vinger noted the sensitivity of the dash-cam video and another video showing Bland’s last hours in the Waller County Jail. There is no video of what happened inside her cell, but the jailhouse video helps provide a timeline leading to discovery of the body.

“To eliminate any concerns as to the efficacy of the video, DPS previously requested the FBI examine the dash-cam and jail video to ensure the integrity of the video,” Vinger said.

Here is a partial transcript of the dashboard video showing the arrest of Bland:

As the video begins, trooper Brian Encinia has a routine exchange with Bland when he takes her driver's license. After he goes back to her car and returns the license, the conversation grows heated:

TROOPER: "You OK?"

BLAND: "I'm waiting on you. This is your job. I'm waiting on you. What do you want me to do?"

TROOPER: "You seem very irritated."

BLAND: "I am. I really am. Because of what I've been stopped and am getting a ticket for. I've been getting out of the way. You've been speeding up, so I move over and you stop me. So yeah, I am a little irritated. But that didn't stop you from giving me a ticket."

TROOPER: "Are you done?"

BLAND: "You asked me what was wrong and I told you. So now I'm done, yeah."

TROOPER: "OK, OK."

(Pause)

TROOPER: "Do you mind putting out your cigarette, please?"

BLAND: "I'm in my car. Why do I have to put out my cigarette?"

TROOPER: "Well, you can step out now."

BLAND: "I don't have to step on out."

TROOPER: "Step out of the car."

(He opens the driver's side door.)

BLAND: "No, you don't have the right."

TROOPER: "Step out of the car!"

BLAND: "You don't have the right to do that."

TROOPER: "I do have the right. Now step out or I'll remove you."

BLAND: "I am getting removed for failure to signal?"

TROOPER: "Step out or I'll remove you. I'm giving you a lawful order. Get out of the car now or I'm going to remove you."

BLAND: "I'm calling my lawyer."

TROOPER: "I'm going to yank you out of here."

BLAND: "OK, you're going to yank me out of the car?"

TROOPER: "Get out!" (reaching into the car)

BLAND: "Don't touch me!"

TROOPER: "Get out of the car!"

BLAND: "Don't touch me. I am not under arrest. You don't have the right to touch me."

TROOPER: "You are under arrest." BLAND: "I'm under arrest for what?" (Trooper radios for backup.)

TROOPER: "Get out of the car! Get out of the car now!"

BLAND: "Am I being apprehended? Did you try to give me a ticket?"

TROOPER: "Get out of the car!"

BLAND: "Why am I being apprehended? You done opened my car door. So you're going to drag me out of my own car?"

TROOPER: "Get out of the car! I will light you up! Get out!"

BLAND: (Stepping out, holding phone) "Wow. Wow. You're doing all this for a failure to signal?"

TROOPER: "Get over there!" (Directing her to the side of the road)

BLAND: "Right. Yeah, let's take this to court."

TROOPER: "Get off the phone!"

BLAND: "I'm off the phone. I'm making a record."

TROOPER: "Put the phone down."

(Now off-camera)

BLAND: "Are you feeling good about yourself? Are you feeling good about yourself? For a failure to signal, you're feeling good about yourself."

TROOPER: "Turn around. Turn around now! Put your hands behind your back and turn around now!"


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