May 13, 2019
Dallas TV station WFAA released a video taken by Sandra Bland on her cellphone showing a Texas state trooper viciously harassing and threatening her prior to her arrest in 2015. A nonprofit journalism organization called Investigation Network obtained the video.
At the time, the state trooper, Brian Encina, claimed he stopped Bland for failure to use a turn signal when she pulled over to allow his vehicle to pass her as he closely tailed her. He eventually violently threw her to the ground, slamming her head so hard she complained to a bystander she couldn’t hear. Encina ordered the bystander to leave, and arrested Bland and took her to jail. Three days later, she was found dead in her jail cell, with the police claiming she hanged herself.
Bland’s video, which her family was never shown, shows Encina standing inside Bland’s open car door and ordering her out of the car. Bland simply responds by asking why she is being apprehended. Encina then points his taser gun at her and yells, “Get out of the car! I will light you up. Get out!” She responds by asking “All this for a failure to signal?”
Bland’s video proves Encina lied when he told a grand jury that he simply demanded Bland get out of the car to conduct the “traffic stop” more safely and that he “feared for his own safety.” His immediately aggressive behavior makes it clear that this was less a traffic violation and more about Bland daring to be defiant about being ordered out of her car and filming the interaction.
A grand jury at the time actually indicted Encina for perjury but prosecutors dropped the charges in exchange for Encina agreeing to never work in law enforcement again.
Bland’s family is rightfully demanding Encina be put in jail.
This is just one of many incidents that happened to be caught on video showing racist cops harassing black people for no legitimate reason. Often these incidents have ended in the death of the victim and the cops walking away scot-free.
Racism is not simply a problem for the black population. When the cops can do this to one person, they can do it to us all. All workers have an interest in fighting against every one of these injustices, every time they rear their ugly heads.