AUSTIN, Texas — Texas authorities on Friday denied withholding a cellphone video of Sandra Bland‘s confrontational visitors cease, responding to a Democratic legislator’s heated questions on why the 39-second clip by no means publicly surfaced till now.
Bland, a 28-year-old black girl from exterior Chicago, had used her telephone in 2015 to briefly movie a white state trooper as he drew a stun gun and yelled “I’ll gentle you up!” whereas ordering her out of the automobile. She was lifeless three days later, hanging in her jail cell exterior Houston. Her demise was dominated a suicide.
“The Division of Public Security has not illegally withheld proof from Sandra Bland’s household or her authorized crew,” mentioned Phillip Adkins, normal counsel of the division.
The video had not been publicly seen till it was aired this month by a Dallas tv station, and each lawmakers and Bland’s household say they’d additionally by no means seen the clip. They are saying the video proves that Trooper Brian Encinia had no cause to concern for his life and questioned whether or not he ought to have confronted costs past perjury.
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Democratic presidential contenders within the crowded 2020 discipline have additionally reacted to the video with requires accountability and prison justice reforms.
Explanations by state officers had been challenged, usually sharply, by Democratic state Rep. Garnet Coleman, who mentioned he by no means acquired the video regardless of asking for all proof as chairman of the Home Committee on County Affairs. He advised Adkins he was handed a jumbled “information dump” of 4 discs and mentioned the outline of Bland’s cellphone video within the state’s investigative report wasn’t an trustworthy account.
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“I disagree with you. I feel it’s a good and correct description of the video,”Adkins mentioned.
Coleman interrupted, speaking over him.
“You may disagree all day lengthy, as a result of I don’t have mendacity eyes, sir,” he mentioned. “I’ve appeared into this greater than anybody.”
Bland’s mom, Geneva Reed-Veal of Chicago, attended the listening to on the Texas Capitol however didn’t testify. She advised reporters afterward she heard “loads of discrepancies” on the listening to however declined additional remark.
Encinia, the trooper, was fired after being indicted for perjury and mentioned he got here to concern for his security after stopping Bland for failing to sign a lane change. The perjury cost was later dropped in trade for Encinia agreeing to by no means work in regulation enforcement once more.
WATCH: Dashcam video exhibits confrontation between Sandra Bland and Texas state trooper
Coleman mentioned Encinia “obtained off gentle” and accused state officers of not being ethically forthcoming with their dealing with of the video. Hours after the listening to, Texas DPS launched a replica of a letter despatched in October 2015 to the Bland’s household lawyer, Cannon Lambert, notifying him “cellphone obtain” of Bland’s telephone was enclosed on a thumb drive. Lambert mentioned he by no means noticed the video within the proof that was turned over to him.
The listening to had been rapidly organized earlier than the Texas Legislature adjourns Monday till 2021. One proposal that would nonetheless attain Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk would make it tougher to jail individuals for low-level misdemeanours, which some lawmakers have sought within the wake of Bland’s demise. Legislation enforcement teams, nonetheless, are combating the measure.
In 2017, Coleman handed a “Sandra Bland Act” that included de-escalation coaching, unbiased investigations of county jail deaths and extra racial profiling information. Advocates for prison justice reforms have praised the modifications, however the finish product disenchanted Bland’s household, who felt it didn’t deal with the circumstances main as much as her demise.