Police Had — and Concealed — Cell Phone Video Shot by Sandra Bland

[Content Note: Police brutality; misogynoir; alleged self-harm.]

In July 2015, Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old Black woman from suburban Chicago, who had just relocated to Waller County, Texas, for a job she was about to start, was pulled over by a state trooper for improperly signaling a lane change. The official story of Waller County Sheriff's Department officials has always been that Bland then became "combative" with the trooper, who restrained her, arrested her for assault on a public servant, and took her into custody, where she was later found dead in her cell of a supposed suicide.

Bland's family has always maintained that she would not have killed herself, and the details provided by the sheriff's office do make it seem extremely unlikely. Further, once the police dashcam footage of the arrest was released, it did not show Bland being physically combative, and it had also clearly been edited.

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Now, nearly four years later, after WFAA and the Investigative Network worked to get access to it, Bland's own cell phone footage of her arrest has been made public.
New cellphone footage from the now infamous traffic stop of Sandra Bland shows her perspective when a Texas state trooper points a Taser and yells, "I will light you up!"

Bland, 28, was found dead three days later in her Waller County jail cell near Houston. Her death was ruled a suicide.

The new video — released as part of a WFAA exclusive in partnership with the Investigative Network — fuels the Bland family's suspicions that Texas officials withheld evidence in her controversial arrest and, later, her death.
I wouldn't say that the video "fuels" their suspicions as much as it confirms them.
Until now, the trooper's dashcam footage was believed to be the only full recording of the July 2015 traffic stop, which ended in Bland's arrest. The trooper claimed he feared for his safety during the stop.

The 39-second cellphone video shot by Bland remained in the hands of investigators until the Investigative Network obtained the video once the criminal investigation closed.

Bland's family said they never saw the video before and now call for Texas officials to re-examine the criminal case against the trooper who arrested Bland, which sparked outrage across the country.

"Open up the case, period," said Bland's sister Shante Needham said when shown the video.
Yes. The case needs to be reopened. And a new case into why the video was concealed from the family must be opened, too.

It was possibly illegal to conceal the existence of the video, and it was definitely unethical to withhold from Bland's family the last recording she ever made.

They have my condolences, once again, for the ongoing trauma caused by the police who arrested Sandra Bland, whose life ended while in their custody, and have lied about it ever since.

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