Sandra Bland, who died following an arrest in 2015 in what was ultimately ruled a suicide, recorded cell phone footage of her arrest in newly released video that has sparked calls to reopen the investigation into her passing.
The video was discovered by local ABC affiliate WFAA in Dallas.
In the video, Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) officer Brian Encinia can be seen aggressively instructing Bland to “get out of the car” while pointing a taser in her direction and threatening to “light her up.”
“Get out of the car,” Encinia can be heard shouting. “I will light you up. Get out. Now.”
Once the footage began circulating online after years of not being shown to anyone — including Bland’s family — her relatives demanded answers.
“Open up the case, period,” said Bland’s sister Shante Needham, via The Hill. “We also know they have an extremely, extremely good cover-up system.”
“What the video shows is that Encinia had no reason to be in fear of his safety,” Bland family lawyer Cannon Lambert said in a statement, via the New York Times. “The video shows that he wasn’t in fear of his safety. You could see that it was a cellphone, He was looking right at it.”
The Texas Department of Safety denies any speculation that the video was purposely withheld from the public.
“The premise that the video was not produced as a part of the discovery process is wrong,” DPS said in a statement. “A hard drive containing copies of 820 Gigabytes of data compiled by DPS from its investigation, including the dashcam videos, jail video footage and data from Sandra Bland’s cell phone, was part of discovery.”
Following the Bland incident, Encinia was charged with perjury and fired from his position. Bland’s family also won a wrongful death lawsuit against Waller County and the Texas DPS for $1.9 million.