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Sandra Bland Redux: New Cellphone Video Released by Family

Sandra Bland Redux: New Cellphone Video Released by Family

Cause of in-custody death three days after arrest remains ruled a suicide

Some of you may recall the 2015 arrest and subsequent apparent jailhouse suicide three days later of Sandra Bland, about whom I wrote at the time here at Legal Insurrection:

Sandra Bland Arrest: Another Lesson in Non-Compliance (7/24/15)

No indictment in Sandra Bland jail death (12/22/15)

In summary, Bland was the subject of a traffic stop that should have been routine but which became confrontational, in the course of which Bland became increasingly non-compliant with lawful instructions from the officer, resulting in her arrest. Three days later, still in jail, she would be found dead in her cell from an apparent suicide.

It has become common practice by the racial grievance industry to recite a list of names of individuals who were, they claim, wrongfully killed by police or others, presumably because the “victims” were black and therefore racism. This list typically consists of Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and others.

What’s most notable about each of these cases, of course, is that everyone was either (1) a lawful use of defensive or law enforcement force or (2) unlawful use of force in which the person who used that force was held legally accountable. In other words, the system worked.

The Sandra Bland case is a bit different, in that there is literally zero evidence that Bland’s death was caused by any unlawful force by anyone, much less by the arrest three days before her death. Rather, the evidence is that Bland simply killed herself. This remains true after a comprehensive investigation by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

So why was Bland’s case ever news, and why has it become news again this week? Because of the two videos that captured not her death, but her arrest, which led to her incarceration, during which she apparently killed herself, and the “release” this week of one of those videos—the one captured by Bland herself on her cell phone—by Bland’s family. The second video is that of the arresting officer’s dash camera.

I’ve embedded here a combination of both videos, with the larger image being that of the dash camera video and the smaller inset image in the lower left, starting at about the 1:53 mark, that of Bland’s cell phone video.   As you’ll see, the cell phone video doesn’t add much to dash camera video. (The total video lasts 5 minutes and 40 seconds; Bland’s portion is a mere 40 seconds).

It’s worth mentioning that the cell phone video is not “new” to anyone, as it was part of the Texas DPS investigation and was released to the Bland family long ago during discovery in their civil suit over Bland’s death. The cell phone video is only “new” in the sense that the family has just now chosen to release it to the media during a slow news week.

One could perhaps make a straight-faced argument that the officer who arrested Bland used poor judgment in doing so, and perhaps even exceeded his authority in making the arrest, although that latter is not a very strong argument, as noted in my July 24, 2015 post linked above.

Note that there is no allegation, absolutely none, by anyone, that any force used in her arrest had anything to do with her death three days later, so in fact, the arrest has nothing substantive to do with her death at all. Zip, zero, nada, nothing.

The “new” cell phone video doesn’t change that one bit, as the cell phone video is not evidence of anything that could have led to Bland’s death three days later.

Despite the Texas DPS investigation revealing no criminal conduct with respect to Bland’s death, and the refusal of a Texas grand jury to indict anyone with respect to her death, Waller County, where Bland was incarcerated, agreed to a $1.9 million settlement with Bland’s family in 2016.

It is, of course, common for politicians to spend other people’s money to make politically unpleasant allegations, however unfounded and lacking in merit, go away.

You may be wondering why anyone would bother to “release” the cell phone video this week, given that the family has already received a couple of million in settlement money and the criminal investigation of the matter has long since been concluded.

If you know the answer to that question feel free to share it in the comments.


Attorney Andrew F. Branca
Law of Self Defense LLC

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healthguyfsu | May 8, 2019 at 5:17 pm

The answer is simple…a hope for more attention and a return to relevance.

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Because of its privacy settings, this video cannot be played here.

It’s WALLER county

Gremlin1974 | May 8, 2019 at 6:32 pm

So my basic take on this is that Bland’s family is just shouting; “Hey look we did a thing!”.

Choose your battles wisely. This lady needlessly escalated the whole thing with the cop.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to fscarn. | May 9, 2019 at 10:16 am

    The difference is one’s attitude about police and the law.

    I appreciate that police have a difficult and dangerous job. So even if I think that being pulled over is unmerited, I remain polite, point out my excellent record of no tickets for decades, apologize for whatever caused the stop and they let me go with a warning.

    This woman is a classic example of blacks general disrespect for both the police and law, and society in general.

    What needs to happen is a total embargo on ghetto lottery settlements, and based on her many threats that is exactly what she was after.

      counsel in reply to JusticeDelivered. | May 9, 2019 at 3:27 pm

      I witnessed a police pulling over a woman in Virginia. The Officers first words where “What are you, stupid”?

      How would you have responded?

        Gremlin1974 in reply to counsel. | May 9, 2019 at 6:16 pm

        I would have reported him to his commander. The side of the road isn’t the place to debate with cops. You will not win.

legalbeagle | May 8, 2019 at 6:34 pm

That is quite an escalation by the Officer. Many police officers would have written the ticket and walked away if she came back without warrants or holds. The Officer may have acted lawfully but he did not act prudently.

    Free State Paul in reply to legalbeagle. | May 8, 2019 at 7:07 pm

    Yes, IMHO two people who either have anger control issues, or maybe were just having bad days, crossing paths with tragic results.

      DaveGinOly in reply to Free State Paul. | May 8, 2019 at 9:35 pm

      If you get into trouble with an officer who seems to have an anger issue, have your attorney demand that the officer be tested for steroid use. Many of these types of confrontations appear to me to be the result of ‘roid rage. Officers are known to use steroids to give themselves an edge over violent suspects. Can’t blame them for wanting that edge, but it’s illegal and it can lead to poor judgment and bursts of unreasonable anger. This is especially indicated when seen in an individual, such as a police officer, who has training in proper conduct and the handling of difficult subjects. Their training didn’t take and/or they’re under the influence of something that overrides their training (and their common sense).

    Amen. Do what you set out to do and move on with the day.

    He got mad because she didn’t put out the cigarette, but he had no right to require such a thing, and he did not phrase it as an order. He asked her and said please. He escalated very quickly from there. There was no reason to demand she get out of the car at that point. And he should not phrase it as a request if she is going to be punished for not complying.

    With great power comes great responsibility. If he were under my supervision I would fire him, or strongly discipline him. Of the two of them, I would rather have the woman with the minor traffic violation on the streets than the guy who arrested her.

    The family has no right to blame her death on him. But they do have a right to be angry about how this was handled and to be suspicious of any investigation that occurred if this is typical of the attitude of local law enforcement. Very sad all around.

Diversity breeds adversity for profit and democratic leverage.

Richard Aubrey | May 8, 2019 at 7:25 pm

Could her family have bailed her out?

There are multiple problems.

First are paranoid police trained to belive they are in a Stephen King movie where everyone is going to try to kill them. Sandra Bland posed no threat (But she could have been a demon, shoggoth, or werewolf!).

Second, the officer mixed in several unlawful commands (put out your cigarette) with lawful ones (get out of the car). Having a beligerent cop shouting things isn’t how to get cooperation. Heard of “de-escalation”?

Third, is suicide something to be celebrated?

    You haven’t been in a police car on patrol. You should do a ridealong, and you’ll discovery why police are ‘paranoid.’

    You haven’t had a lit cigarette thrown in your face while someone tries to then wrestels your gun from you to kill you with it.

    Third, this woman being the narcissist a-hole that she is a a horrible sign of the times.

      dystopia in reply to | May 9, 2019 at 7:00 am

      I guess the police should also command alleged traffic violators to drain hot coffee cups for Officer safety?

        Mac45 in reply to dystopia. | May 9, 2019 at 12:33 pm

        Actually, an officer IS entitled to require a person to divest themselves of ANY potential weapon during a traffic stop or other enforcement contact. Failure to do so can result in legal use of force to divest the subject of a potential weapon.

        Rule number one, of an enforcement interaction with LE, is to follow simple instructions. Take your ticket and argue your case in court.

        Yes, including all cream and sugar.

        Cops can order a person to take his hands away from a cup of hot coffee – or anything, for that matter.

        You see, while the Homicidal Maniac’s Rulebook (distributed widely to all criminals across the nation) states uneqivocally:

        “No homicidal maniac shall not throw hot coffee in a pig’s face during a traffic stop and then try to shoot him, unless the homicidal maniac shoots the pig first.”
        Homicidal Maniac’s Rulebook Section 45.344(b)(1)(2)(A)

        Unfortunately, there are some homicidal maniacs who don’t follow the damn rules, or they fail to notify the rulebook makers of their new addresses and never get the latest rulebook copy.

        Therefore, the command of “put down the hot coffee cup” makes sense.

The Cop is giving her a ticket for not using her turn signal and instead of just giving her a ticket he is questioning why she looks agitated. Is he a moron? Everyone who gets a moving violation is agitated. He was looking for a confrontation. He should have given her a ticket and moved on. He ended up costing the state a couple of million dollars and he can never work as a Cop again. It may be legal the way he acted, but it’s not the way Cops should act.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to Jackie. | May 9, 2019 at 11:55 am

    Suspects are often agitated because they have other issues, like drugs, stolen property, etc. I don’t buy that most people are excessively agitated during a traffic stop. And considering that cigarette smoke is unhealthy for everyone, especially people who have allergies, asking someone to put the cigarette out is reasonable.

    At one of my jobs two of us were in a non smoking office. One of the shop rats kept coming and blowing smoke in my face. One day I whipped out a CO2 fire extinguisher and put out his cigarette. He left the room with frost on his beard and glasses.

    A year or so later I did a cost study detailing all the costs associated with smokers, and smoking was completely banned in the facility. A smoking employee has more unproductive time, there are significant medical costs associated with them and their family, extra cleaning costs, higher insurance costs, the ash even degrades computers.

    The company’s bottom line improved by several hundreds of thousands of dollars.


    How many years of police patrol work do you have?

    Here’s one database on how many people were killed by police. The database makers released this to attack the police, but it works against them: look at how many times a criminal puts a cop’s life in danger to the point where shooting has to occur:

    Google the deceased criminals’ names, and you’ll be relieved they’re deceased.

    On the other hand:

    List of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in the United States 2010 to present:

    Sure, there are a-hole cops. (There are a-holes in every profession and walk of life.)But, there are a ZILLION homicaidal maniacs on the opposite side of law enforcement.

    The number of wrongful police shootings absurdly pales compared to the number of righteous shootings of criminals by police. And remember: for each righteous shooting of a criminal, there are vastoly less victims of crime than there would be if the homicidal manica was not put down when he or she was.

Despite the Texas DPS investigation revealing no criminal conduct with respect to Bland’s death, and the refusal of a Texas grand jury to indict anyone with respect to her death, Waller County, where Bland was incarcerated, agreed to a $1.9 million settlement with Bland’s family in 2016.

Of course they did. The County was negligent. The woman was in custody. The safety of County Jail inmates is the responsibility of the County.

I don’t feel sorry for her or her family!

Was this stupid, narcissist cop fired?