The Texas Department of Public Safety has released a new version of a dashcam video that shows an intense exchange between a white trooper and an African-American woman during a traffic stop three days before she was found hanging in her jail cell.
On July 10, Trooper Brian Encinia instructed Illinois resident Sandra Bland, 28, to pull over after she made an improper lane change in Waller County, Texas. After ten minutes, he can be seen threatening Bland with a taser and demanding she get out of the car while using the phrase “I will light you up.”
The initial video widely circulated on social media, with some speculating that authorities altered the initial version of the video released Tuesday – a claim that has been vigorously denied.
“Yesterday’s video was not edited,” DPS spokesman Tom Vinger says in a statement. “The entire video was uploaded Tuesday 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 was affected in the upload. That technical issue has now been resolved.”
According to an arrest warrant filed by Encinia, “Bland became combative and uncooperative.” After Bland was handcuffed, she “began swinging her elbows at me and then kicked my right leg in the shin. I had a pain in my right leg and suffered small cuts on my right hand.”
Bland was charged with assault on a public servant. Three days later, she was found hanging in her jail cell, a plastic bag over her head. The medical examiner ruled her death a suicide, but Bland’s family refused to believe that she would take her own life.
In a news conference Wednesday, Bland’s sister, Sharon Cooper, said she felt Bland was treated unfairly during the traffic stop.
“I simply feel like the officer was picking on her,” Cooper said, per CBS News.
Bland was reportedly in Texas to interview for a job at Prairie View A&M University. She got the job and was to start next month.
The Texas Rangers and the FBI are now investigating her death.
“It is too early to make any kind of determination that this was a suicide or a murder because the investigations are not complete,” Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis told reporters at a press conference. “This is being treated like a murder investigation.”
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