Thursday 27 October 2016

Video shows arrest of woman who died in cell

Michael Graczyk in Hempstead, Texas

Published 23/07/2015 | 02:30

The dashcasm video showing Sandra Bland
The dashcasm video showing Sandra Bland
Jeanette Williams places a bouquet of roses at a memorial for Sandra Bland near Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, Texas.

Authorities have released dashcam video of a white Texas police officer stopping a black motorist who was later found dead in a jail cell in what has become the latest case to cast national attention on the interactions between police and minorities in the United States.

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Authorities say Sandra Bland (28) hanged herself in her cell three days after her arrest, a contention that her family and their supporters dispute.

The video, posted by the Texas Department of Public Safety, shows the trooper stopping Bland for failure to signal a lane change.

After he hands her a written warning, the trooper remarks that Bland seems irritated. She says that she is irritated because she had changed lanes to make way for the trooper's car.

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

The trooper then orders Bland to get out of the vehicle. She refuses and he tells her she is under arrest.

Further refusals to get out bring a threat from the trooper to drag her out. He then pulls what appears to be a weapon and says: "I will light you up."

The dashboard video shows that when Bland finally steps out of the car, the trooper orders her to the side of the road. There, the confrontation continues off-camera but is still audible. The two keep yelling at each other as the officer tries to put Bland in handcuffs.

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

In his affidavit, trooper Brian Encinia said he then 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.

Bland was taken to a jail about 100km northwest of Houston on July 10 and she was found dead July 13.

Although a medical examiner has ruled Bland's death a suicide, Bland's family and clergy members have called for a federal investigation and an independent autopsy has been ordered.

Irish Independent

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