After almost a week of Texas cops and prosecutors claiming Sandra Bland hung herself in her cell, prosecutors said they will now treat it as a murder investigation.
The announcement was made Monday, reported by MSNBC on the eve of when the Texas Department of Public Safety said it will release the dashcam video of her arrest, which is said to contradict the initial statement from police.
Texas state troopers initially claimed they were going to allow Sandra Bland off with a written warning for an improper lane change.
But they claim she kicked an officer, which is what led to her arrest for assault on a peace officer and ultimately her alleged suicide in a jail cell three days later, never explaining why she even out of her car in the first place.
Now we’re learning that trooper Brian Encinia ordered her to put out her cigarette after she had already handed over her license, insurance and registration, according to her family’s lawyer, who speaks on the video below.
But when she questioned why would she have to put out her cigarette if she was sitting in her own car, Encinia became angry and opened her door, ordering her out of the car.
She pulled out her phone to record, but he pulled out his taser.
She eventually ended up with two cops on top of her about 30 feet from her car, one of those cops who ordered a witness recording the arrest to leave the area.
According to MSNBC:
The lawyer for the family of a woman found dead in a Texas jail cell last week said dashcam video from the roadside traffic stop that led to her arrest shows the encounter grew confrontational after she refused an officer’s demand to put out her cigarette.
Sandra Bland, 28, was pulled over by a state trooper for a routine traffic violation in Prairie View on July 10, authorities said. After running her license and insurance, the trooper returned to her car with what appeared to be a written warning, according to the the lawyer, Cannon Lambert, who sat down with NBC News in a joint interview with Bland’s sister.
Lambert, citing what he had seen on the dashcam video, said the trooper then asked Bland to put out her cigarette.
Bland, who seemed irritated at having been pulled over in the first place, responded: ‘Why do I have to put out a cigarette when I’m in my own car?'” Lambert said. “And that seemed to irritate him to the point where he said, ‘Get out of the car.'”
Bland, a civil rights advocate who had moved to the Houston area from suburban Chicago for a new job at Prairie View A&M University, “wasn’t comfortable getting out of the car,” Lambert said. So the trooper “looked to force her to get out of the car by way of opening the door and started demanding that she do,” Lambert said.
Lambert said there was “no clear understanding why she had to get out of the car in the first place. It is a routine traffic stop.”
The lawyer added other details about video in an interview with the Tom Joyner Morning Show. As the trooper tried to get her out of the car, she reached for her cell phone “to try to go about taping what was going on.” Moments later, the trooper pulled out a Taser and pointed it at her, Lambert said. At that point, Bland got out.
Bland demanded to know why she needed to put out her cigarette if she was sitting in her own car, which further angered Encinia.
The Department of Public Safety was supposed to release the dashcam video today, but decided to hold off until tomorrow, which indicates they really don’t want this to be seen.
But it looks like it will soon be published, so stay tuned.