Friday 30 September 2016

Sandra Bland arrest footage 'was not doctored' - US authorities

Published 22/07/2015 | 21:41

In this July 10, 2015, frame from dashcam video provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety, trooper Brian Encinia arrests Sandra Bland after she became combative during a routine traffic stop in Waller County, Texas. (Texas Department of Public Safety via AP)
In this July 10, 2015, frame from dashcam video provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety, trooper Brian Encinia arrests Sandra Bland after she became combative during a routine traffic stop in Waller County, Texas. (Texas Department of Public Safety via AP)
A Waller County Department of Public Safety officer points a Taser as he orders Sandra Bland out of her vehicle, in this still image captured from the police dash camera video from the traffic stop of Bland's vehicle in Prairie View, Texas, July 10, 2015. REUTERS/The Texas Department of Public Safety/Handout via Reuters
A Waller County Department of Public Safety officer opens the driver's side door as he orders Sandra Bland out of her vehicle, in this still image captured from the police dash camera video from the traffic stop of Bland's vehicle in Prairie View, Texas, July 10, 2015. REUTERS/The Texas Department of Public Safety/Handout via Reuters
Jeanette Williams places a bouquet of roses at a memorial for Sandra Bland near Prairie View A&M University, Tuesday, July 21, 2015, in Prairie View, Texas. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
Sharon Cooper wipes tears at a memorial service for her sister Sandra Bland at Prairie View A&M University, Tuesday, July 21, 2015, in Prairie View, Texas. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
Jeanette Williams places a bouquet of roses at a memorial for Sandra Bland near Prairie View A&M University, Tuesday, July 21, 2015, in Prairie View, Texas. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
Medics leave with equipment on a stretcher at Waller County Jail in Hempstead, Texas, July 13, 2015 in this still image taken from video provided by the Waller County Sheriff's Office. REUTERS/Waller County Sheriff's Office/Handout via Reuters
A guard motions to a medic (L) arriving with a stretcher to Waller County Jail in Hempstead, Texas, July 13, 2015, in this still image taken from video provided by the Waller County Sheriff's Office. REUTERS/Waller County Sheriff's Office/Handout via Reuters

Authorities in the US have insisted that a patrol car video showing the arrest of a black motorist, who was later found dead in a jail cell, was not edited or manipulated.

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The death of 28-year-old Sandra Bland, three days after she was arrested by a white law enforcement officer during a heated confrontation over a minor traffic offence in Texas, is the latest case to cast national attention on the interactions between police and minorities in the United States.

Officials say Bland hanged herself in her cell - a contention her family and supporters dispute.

The video does not reveal what happened while she was in custody, but it depicts an emotional exchange in which the officer tried to drag Bland from her car, drew his stun gun and threatened that he would "light you up".

The case has resonated on social media, with posts questioning the official account of the events.

The video posted by the Texas Department of Public Safety yesterday shows the trooper stopping Bland for failure to signal when she changed lanes.

The conversation turns hostile when the officer asks Bland to put out her cigarette and she asks why she cannot smoke in her own car.

The trooper then orders Bland to get out of the vehicle. When she refuses, the officer pulls what appears to be a weapon and says: "I will light you up."

Jeanette Williams places a bouquet of roses at a memorial for Sandra Bland near Prairie View A&M University, Tuesday, July 21, 2015, in Prairie View, Texas. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
Jeanette Williams places a bouquet of roses at a memorial for Sandra Bland near Prairie View A&M University, Tuesday, July 21, 2015, in Prairie View, Texas. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

Out of the camera's view, Bland continues protesting against her arrest, repeatedly using expletives. At one point, she screams that he is about to break her wrists and complains that he knocked her head into the ground.

The video has drawn criticism for gaps and overlaps, but the Texas Department of Public Safety insisted today that it had not been doctored.

A guard motions to a medic (L) arriving with a stretcher to Waller County Jail in Hempstead, Texas, July 13, 2015, in this still image taken from video provided by the Waller County Sheriff's Office. REUTERS/Waller County Sheriff's Office/Handout via Reuters
A guard motions to a medic (L) arriving with a stretcher to Waller County Jail in Hempstead, Texas, July 13, 2015, in this still image taken from video provided by the Waller County Sheriff's Office. REUTERS/Waller County Sheriff's Office/Handout via Reuters

DPS spokesman Tom Vinger said glitches in the recording occurred when it was uploaded for public viewing.

Trooper Brian Encinia has said he used force "to subdue Bland to the ground", and she continued to fight back. He arrested her for assault on a public servant.

He also said Bland swung her elbows at him and kicked him in his right shin.

He has been placed on administrative leave.

"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," Steven McCraw, the department director, said.

Bland was taken to a jail about 60 miles north-west of Houston on July 10 and was found dead on July 13.

Although a medical examiner has ruled Bland's death was suicide, supporters insist she was upbeat and looking forward to a new job at a local university.

Bland's family and clergy members have called for a federal investigation, and an independent post-mortem examination has been ordered.

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