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Thursday, July 23, 2015

A TRAFFIC STOP GONE BAD

The Texas Department of Public Safety has released a 51-minute video of Sandra Bland's traffic stop and arrest, after showing it privately to several local and state officials in a Tuesday meeting. Bland was arrested earlier this month and found dead in her jail cell three days later. She was on her way to Texas from Illinois to start a new job at her alma mater, Prairie View A&M University. 

Rumpole, surprisingly, is leaning towards the State Trooper here, although not initiating any contact and calling for backup would have been the better practice. However, there is a significant difference between blogging about something and being boots on the ground (it's the difference between being a trial lawyer, and being elected to the bench never having tried a case, but we digress). 



NPR's Martin Kaste reviewed the video and gave interviews to various media outlets including his favourite legal blogger:  "On the video, Texas state trooper Brian Encinia pulls Bland over for failing to signal a lane-change," Kaste said. "Bland is terse with the trooper, and after a few minutes, the tension between them flares up."
Kaste continues, "They argue over whether he has the right to make her get out, things escalate into a shouting match, and then he pulls his taser."
At one point, state trooper Encinia yells at Bland, "I will light you up." State trooper leadership has said Encinia did not follow proper procedure; he's now on desk duty. Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said after viewing the video that Bland was "not compliant" with the officer's orders.
During the interaction, Bland refused to get out of her car and put out a cigarette. Encinia claims Bland kicked him. At the point where he says that happened, their interaction is off-camera.
Video taken by a bystander, released earlier this month, showed Bland on the ground after being detained, telling the officer she could not feel her arm and that her head had been slammed into the ground.
Bland was arrested and charged with assaulting an officer. Three days after her arrest, Bland was found dead in a Waller County jail cell. Officials have said evidence indicates that Bland's death was a suicide, a hanging with a plastic bag. Bland's family disagrees and says she was trying to get out of jail.

5 comments:

Claude Erskine - Browne said...

I have severe questions about the lady's death.
BUT, had she simply been polite, Yes Sir, No Sir, this traffic stop would have Never escalated into an arrest

Anonymous said...

Sorry buddy but the trooper was way out of line in his handling of the situation. Do you really want an officer like him pulling you over?

Anonymous said...

Rump is leaning towards the Trooper? Having someone exit their car because they won't put out a cigarette does not seem like "disobeying a lawful order." While there is supposedly a full 50+ minute version of the stop and resulting arrest out there I haven't seen it. Absent her having committed a crime (refusing to put out a cigarette does not qualify, and she did eventually exit the car) I still can't fathom how his actions were lawful. If that does qualify (refusing to put out a cigarette) get ready for "lower your blouse" or "hike up your skirt"). Another loss for citizens and another death at the hands of the police although I doubt they care.

Rumpole said...

Did you see how he treated everyone else he stopped? He tried to give her a warning. He doesn't seem like a bad cop.

Claude Erskine - Browne said...

Yes , he over reacted
BUT, had she been polite, yes sir/ no sir , this would Not have escalated. Why give the cop attitude, especially when he was just going to give her a warning. What happened was terrible, BUT common sense tells me this all could have been avoided with, I am sorry Officer, thank you for your consideration , yes Sir, no Sir.
Courtesy would have deescalated the situation.
We all know on the street , you CAN NOT win against a cop. How many clients could avoid arrest if they were polite and cooperated