Dashcam footage showing the arrest of Sandra Bland, an African-American woman who died in police custody three days after being arrested for a routine traffic violation, has been released by officials in Texas.
Bland’s apparent suicide generated a huge controversy last week after her friends and family questioned the circumstances that led to her death.
However, the case has become even more complicated after Texas police released a new video of her traffic stop. Social media users, including professional video editors, found more than one anomaly in the 52-minute YouTube clip, suggesting it was tampered with.
Around two minutes into the video, Bland can be seen changing lanes without signaling and a police officer, Brian Encinia, pulls her over. Everything appears to be normal until the officer returns to the vehicle to find Bland is upset.
“You seem very irritated,” Encinia says. Bland responds by saying she only changed lanes because she felt he was tailing her.
Encinia then asks Bland to put out her cigarette and she refuses. The argument escalates rather quickly from there, leading to her violent arrest.
“I will light you up!” the officer says, pointing his Taser at Bland after she resisted coming out her car, telling him not to touch her.
After the video was released, several people, including award-winning film director Ava DuVernay, pointed out abrupt breaks in its continuity and the fact that it is looped in several places, questioning its authenticity.
Watch the #SandraBland video and count how many times cars disappear half way down the street. How many times the same cars drive past.— Sean Bonner ? (@seanbonner) July 22, 2015
Now this is weird. Video track seems to repeat at ~25:15, audio is fine. Could be nothing, but could be video was edited... #SandraBland— Not Frantz Fanon (@violentfanon) July 22, 2015
Anybody else noticing edits to the dashcam video? Watch for the towtruck driver starting around 25:05 to 25:20. #SandraBland— Rachel (@starrfish220) July 21, 2015
While local authorities ruled Sandra Bland killed herself, her family and friends contest that claim, saying the true cause of her death is being covered up. Once glitches were found in the initial video of her arrest, suspicions of foul play were further heightened.
Texas Department of Public Safety officials said Wednesday that the video has not been edited and submitted it to the FBI for verification. The video was reposted by officials and is three minutes shorter.
“This investigation is still being treated just as it would a murder investigation, there are too many questions that need to be resolved,” Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said. “Miss Bland’s family does make valid points that she seemed to have a lot of things going on in her life that were good.”
Jail intake forms have produced inconsistencies into whether Bland was suicidal or not. In one section, Bland said she tried to kill herself using pills in 2015 and another said she attempted suicide in 2014, but in a different section she responded "no" to the question of attempting suicide.
Steven McCraw, director of the Texas DPS, said in a statement, "DPS has been working closely with the family of Ms. Bland during this investigation, and the department extends our sincere condolences for their tragic loss."
Encinia has been placed on administrative leave during the investigation into Bland's death and the trooper is being investigated into whether he violated any criminal laws during the arrest.