On Monday, a new video recorded by 28-year-old Sandra Bland emerged which proves Texas Officer Brian Encinia was lying when he claimed he ordered the Chicago native out of her car, in 2015, because he feared for his safety.
For four years this suppressed video has been hidden from the public by Texas officials. Why are we only seeing this crucial piece of evidence now? Why did Texas officials not disclose this video to Bland’s lawyer, which they had in their possession all along?
The never before seen cellphone video is an incriminating indictment of Officer Brian Encinia’s conduct—and of those Texas government agencies who concealed this video to protect him. An investigation needs to be conducted to fully expose all who concealed this vital piece of evidence. This appears to be yet another example of cops covering up the criminality of other officers.
Sandra Bland’s cellphone video is only 39 seconds long. But it is long enough to totally obliterate the main lie told by Encinia. Bland recorded the video while she was still inside her car.
Officer Encinia claimed he ordered Bland out of her car, on July 10, 2015, because “my safety was in jeopardy, at more than one time.” Prior to seeing Bland’s recording, there was no way to physically see what Bland was doing inside her car, besides hearing her objecting to Encinia’s unlawful order to put her cigarette out. Her video adds clarity and further unmasks Encinia as just a bigoted bully who used his badge to brutalize Bland.
The video shows Encinia was lying when he said his “safety was in jeopardy.” It indicates he knew Bland’s hands were occupied videotaping him. What was she going to do shoot him with her cellphone? Isn’t this why he never admitted he knew he was being recorded by her?
Of course, the “I was in fear for my life” line is the standard one killer-cops use when they kill innocent Black people. The two essential questions here are: why are we only seeing this video now? And, who are the parties responsible for withholding it?
Sandra Bland’s attorney, Cannon Lambert, alternated between disbelief and anger when he recently saw the video for the first time. Lambert, from Chicago, represented Bland’s family in a federal civil rights wrongful death lawsuit, that obtained 1.9 million. Lambert was shown the video by Texas investigative reporter Brian Collister, of the Investigative Network.
When he first watches the video, Lambert is in shock and asks reporter Brian Collister “where did you get that?” Collister asks, “have you ever seen that video?” Lambert replies, “I’ve never seen that.” Collister again asks Lambert “you have never seen this video it was never turned over to you?” Lambert replied, “I’ve never seen that, it wasn’t on anything we had. How is this possible? Where did you get that?” Collister responded that he got it from the “Department of Public Safety, Texas DPS, Texas Rangers, the attorney general’s office had this video during your investigation. Did they turn it over to you?”
After staring in amazement, Lambert reacted angrily to the last question saying, “If they had turned it over, I would have seen it Brian. I have not seen that. That video shows he is not in fear of his safety, and she is not reaching for anything. It’s [the recorder] already in her hands and she is recording him. That’s what that video shows. That’s why I’m in disbelief of what I am seeing. The video is showing her recording him. He sees exactly what is in her hands. How can you tell me you don’t know what is in her hand when you’re looking right dead at it? What did she do to put him in jeopardy? What did she do to make him feel like his safety was in jeopardy? Nothing. We can see it now.”
So, here we have, according to reporter Brian Collister, a video that was in the possession of Texas officials who apparently never turned it over to Bland’s lawyer. Is there any doubt that this is clearly proof of a coverup by Texas officials? Encinia was removed from the force, but was never prosecuted for perjury, although he was initially charged with perjury.
Who is worse here? Encinia? Or, the Texas law enforcement, and prosecution officials, who chose to withhold evidence, and decided not to prosecute him? Police often complain they get a bad rap because of a few “bad apples.” But why do they repeatedly aid-and-abet these “bad apples?”
Is covering up for abusive cops how they follow the “rule of law?”
Only in America can a Black person get arrested for an “illegal lane change” then end up dead in a prison cell THREE DAYS LATER
If police really cared about their bad image, in Black America, they would prosecute the lawbreaking criminal cops in their midst. Instead, they do everything in their power to protect them. How can Black Americans be expected to trust police, and prosecutors, when they refuse to hold brutal bigoted cops accountable?
The suppression of this video does nothing to inspire trust in police, and in government officials. We’ve seen the suppression of video evidence in other cases. For example, in the Laquan McDonald case, Chicago officials buried the tape of McDonald’s cold-blooded murder by former Office Jason Van Dyke for a year.
Moreover, across America, police are busy using their unions to stop the complete implementation of body-cameras. What do they have to hide? If police are serious about enforcing the law, and not breaking it, why are they fighting so hard against these important measures of accountability?
Some police departments are now using the cockamamie excuse that body-cameras are just too expensive. Another laughable excuse is that it is an invasion of the privacy of police. Have these people forgotten that, when they are working, they are public servants? And as the Cato Institute has pointed out “Almost all Americans (89%) support requiring police officers to wear body cameras to record their on-duty interactions” and “most Americans (74%) believe such a policy will equally protect both the police officers that wear them and the citizens who interact with the police.”
Given this new revelation in Sandra Bland’s case, the most important question we must now consider is: which Texas officials, and agencies, decided to keep her cellphone recording hidden?
Sandra Bland was wrongfully arrested on July 10, 2015, because Brian Encina got mad that an uppity Black woman refused his unlawful request to put out her cigarette and was giving him lip. The failure to signal was just a convenient excuse to stop this Black woman. Brian Encina became enraged because: White cops expected Black people to slavishly just obey their commands. It’s irrelevant to them whether those commands are actually lawful.
After being arrested, . The official cause was asphyxiation. Police claim she committed suicide, inside their jail. Isn’t it more likely she was really the victim of a choke-hold lynching like what happened to Eric Garner? Murdering Bland would be much easier to do inside their jails—where no one can see what was happening.
If Encinia’s patrol car wasn’t equipped with a police camera, Sandra Bland may have died even before she reached their Texas jail.
By: Colin Benjamin
Raw video below.