Sandra Bland arrest video just had technical problems, Texas officials say


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 version of the video was uploaded later Wednesday.

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 right 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 people 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.

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July 22, 1:07 p.m.: This article has been updated to add that a new version of the video has been posted.

July 22, 7:54 a.m.: This article has been updated with a response from the Texas Department of Public Safety.

July 21, 11:47 p.m.: This article has been updated with additional video.

July 21, 11:17 p.m.: This article has been updated with the information that the Texas Department of Public Safety could not be reached for comment.

The first version of this article was published July 21 at 10:54 p.m.