Racist terror: assaulted/murdered because she stood up for her rights



     For a “poem: while black,” see here

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       Sandra Bland was an activist in Black Lives Matter! from Chicago.  She had just gotten a job at Prairie View A & M , her alma mater, and was driving to it.
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    Sandra was also an artist who had a whole life to live…

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       Geneva Reed-Veal, Sandra’s mother, recalled one of her last conversations with her daughter:
      “She said, ‘Momma, now I know what my purpose is. My purpose is to go back to Texas. My purpose is to stop all social injustice in the South.’ “
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      When Walter Johnson was murdered by a police officer in North Charleston, Sandra tweeted:

     “I want the white folks to really understand out there, black people are truly—we’re doing as much as we can. Not all of us, but some of us are really doing as much as we can. And we can’t help but get [bleep] off when we see situations where it’s clear the black life didn’t matter. For those of you questioning why was he running away, well, [bleep], because in the news that we’ve seen as of late, you could stand there, surrender to the cops and still be killed.”

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       Brian Encinia, a police officer, swerved around (his camera recording) and began following Bland.  What could be more suspicious than a woman driving while black?

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    As a Black Lives activist, Bland had prophetically tweeted April 8:

AT FIRST THEY USED A NOOSE, NOW ALL THEY DO IS SHOOT #BlackLivesMatter #SandySpeaks

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  The tweet links to her Instagram account, where she posted an illustration of a young black man wearing a noose fashioned from the American flag.

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     And of course, she was found in her jail cell hung… 

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      I have known, in many movements, courageous people like Sandra Bland.

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      Officer Encinia speeded up; the road changed to four lanes and she changed lanes to get out of his way, without signaling.  For this “crime,” he pulled her over.
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      Since she was a woman, he approached her “politely.”  He wouldn’t tell her whether he was giving a ticket or a warning.  But he asked her why she was  upset.  And she told him – it was because he had speeded after her, forced her to change lanes…

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        Encinia became angry.  She committed the sin against police “authority” – the authority of an Occupying Army for black people and chicanos – of smoking a cigarette while driving while a black woman who, in response to questions, has words

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       This “crime” is not barred in any statute in Texas or elsewhere. 

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       An activist in Black Lives Matter, she spoke of her right to be in the car smoking.

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       Threatening her with a taser, Encinia said he would “LIGHT HER UP” if she did not get out of the car.  

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        For changing lanes

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       If a police car or ambulance, siren going, lights flashing, speeds behind you, the law everywhere requires that you move over to the right…

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       Encinia took her behind her car (his camera “has no recording” or was edited by the “police” – there are gaps in the video) but she speaks out – a passerby recorded it – against his throwing her on the ground, banging her head.  She says she couldn’t hear.  She says she has epilepsy…

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    The officer in the civilian video is kneeing her in the back limp on the ground… 

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     She had deep bruises on her back.  She said her arm was broken.

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       Officer Encinia “LIT HER UP.”  That is called racist terror.

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       Encinia took her to jail, threw her in a cell, and two days later, she had supposedly committed suicide (according to District Attorneys Mathis and Diepraam, she had “marijuana in her system” to boot…; this “prosecutorial” tactic is otherwise known as: throw shit at the wall and see what sticks…)

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     There is no evidence of any absence of levelheadedness and sanity in the conversation or in these videos on her part.

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      CNN, however, with due journalistic seriousness or perhaps naiveté reported:
     “The investigation is being treated like a murder investigation, according to Mathis.
      ‘It is very much too early to make any kind of determination that this was a suicide or a murder because the investigations are not complete,” he said Monday. “This is being treated like a murder investigation.”
       The case will go to a grand jury. [as with Michael Brown in Ferguson, that is not promising…]
       ‘There are too many questions that still need to be resolved,’ he said.
        The Texas Rangers and the FBI are investigating Bland’s death.

       “The death of Sandra Bland will not be swept under the rug,” Mathis said. “There will be no one who is protected. … The truth will come out.”

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      In response to Walter Pendleton, a black minister requesting records about unequal prosecution, however, District Attorney Mathis  had behaved way out of line:

    “In 2014, Elton Mathis, the DA, was accused of sending threatening text messages after an African-American clergyman asked Waller County to provide data on prosecution rates by ethnicity. Reverend Walter Pendleton says after he accused DA Mathis of selectively prosecuting minorities, Mathis texted him with threats. Mathis reportedly told him, quote, “You are too stupid to know what that word means.” The prosecutor cited examples of white public officials he had prosecuted, and then he texted, quote, “My hounds ain’t even started yet dumb ass…When I talk people [will] listen. Keep talking and I will sue your ass for slander.” Now, I am saying these words because they are the text, and this was reported in the Houston Chronicle, of the DA that we’re talking about today, in response to a prominent local reverend who was concerned about selective prosecution by ethnicity. – Democracy Now July 24, 2015

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      “Insanity by virtue of racism” – what ought to be a sentencing plea in a court of law in the United States – seems to be a widespread condition among the “authorities” in Waller, Texas…

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      Perhaps Waller, Texas is the only location in the whole country and certainly in the “great state of Texas” in which minorities are not selectively prosecuted.  Actually, about 30% of all the people in prisons are black, about 10% of the population….    

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      In Baltimore, District Attorney Marilyn Mosby courageously – the daughter of police officers – indicted the 6 police officer who murdered Freddy Gray as soon as the coroner’s report was issued. See here.  His arrest and death sounds a lot like Sandra Bland’s.  He, too, was accused by the police of “having committed suicide” (by “severing his spine” in the back of a locked police wagon).

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     On the facts revealed on tape so far, Officer Encinia stopped Sandra Bland falsely, threatened to “Light Her Up” with a taser for smoking in her car, took her out back, and – her words on the tape are convincing evidence – beat her.  The passerby’s tape has him kneeing her limp body on the ground…

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     She was taken to jail, her medical condition ignored, and two days later she was dead.  Her cell phone has disappeared; the tape of the pursuit was edited (the audio is complete, but the video has gaps).  Even on what was shown and Encinia’s failure to report her condition to others (though they may have joined together in killing her), he is guilty of assault and battery and probably of manslaughter.

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     He is on departmental leave temporarily. He has not been arrested. What swift “legal” action…

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       Once again,  Sandra Bland was in Black Lives Matter.   Bland stood up for her rights as an American citizen with a police officer at a forced and never charged traffic stop.  One of the most suspicious matters is that her cell phone has been destroyed or hidden.  Perhaps she threatened legal proceedings against the Waller “police” department.  Perhaps she took pictures.

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     These facts are not emphasized in  reporting in the corporate press (the column in the Times by Charles Blow below is an exception).

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     Like Emmet Till, once upon a time, Sandra Bland from Chicago – what should be understandably given changes that have occurred – still had the illusion that the police in the South consider the law and are not the KKK in blue.  She was enthusiastic about being hired at her alma mater Prairie View A&M.  Even being demeaned and sometimes threatened in the United States of America, if you are black, she believed, you can act as a human being and a citizen… 

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       More investigation – Charles Blow below in the Times asks many relevant questions – still needs to follow.  Investigation is not having the authors of racist terror including the local “district attorney” sign a seal of approval on themselves…

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     Firing every person who was responsible for what happened to Bland specially the sheriff  and District Attorneys would be what a community would do which had some respect for the rule of law.  That is a long way up from Waller and despite mass protest from below about this case, from the United States of America…

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      When 6 cops threw Freddy Gray into the back of a van with out a seat belt and drove around and broke his spine, he had, they said, committed a crime.

     Freddy Gray, Sandra Bland…

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     Sandra Bland knew her rights…

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     She committed the “crime” of knowing her rights…

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     Sheriff Glenn Smith in Waller had been removed as chief of a police department in Hempstead, Texas for racism.  It is interesting what serve as a credential for hiring a sheriff in Waller…

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     What does it take to get fired as chief of a Texas police department for racism? See here and here.

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      As the words and actions of DA Mathis, Sheriff Smith and Officer Encinia all reveal, being a racist toward black people is an official norm in Waller, Texas.

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      A woman can be detained and assaulted and “found dead in a cell” in Waller, Texas for driving while black but Sheriff Smith goes about his work…
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 The Opinion Pages | OP-ED COLUMNIST

Questions About the Sandra Bland Case
JULY 22, 2015
I have so many questions about the case in which Sandra Bland was arrested in a small Texas town and died in police custody. These are questions that ought to be easy to answer, questions that I suspect many others may share. Here are just some of my areas of inquiry.
1. On the video released by the Texas Department of Public Safety of Bland’s traffic stop, the arresting officer, Brian Encinia, tells her that the reason for her stop is that she “failed to signal a lane change.” The officer returns to his car, then approaches Bland’s vehicle a second time. He remarks to Bland, “You seem very irritated.” Bland responds, “I am. I really am.” She continues, “I was getting out of your way. You were speeding up, tailing me, so I move over, and you stop me. So, yeah, I am a little bit irritated.”
Was Bland simply trying to move out of the way of a police vehicle?
The video shows the officer’s car accelerating behind Bland’s and passing a sign indicating a speed limit of 20 miles per hour. How fast was the officer closing the distance on Bland before she changed lanes? Was it completely reasonable for her to attempt to move out of his way? [it is the law…]
2. The officer, while standing at the closed driver’s side door, asks Bland to extinguish her cigarette. As soon as she refuses, he demands that she exit the vehicle. Was the demand to exit because of the refusal? If so, what statute in Texas — or anywhere in America! — stipulates that a citizen can’t smoke during a traffic stop?
3. According to Encinia’s signed affidavit, Bland was “removed from the car” and “placed in handcuffs for officer safety.” The reason for the arrest is unclear to me. At one point, Encinia says, “You were getting a warning until now you’re going to jail.” So, what was the arrest for at that point? Failure to comply? Later in the video, Encinia says, “You’re going to jail for resisting arrest.” If that was the reason, why wasn’t Bland charged with resisting arrest? The affidavit reads, “Bland was placed under arrest for Assault on Public Servant.”
Encinia’s instructions to Bland are a jumble of confusion. After she is handcuffed, he points for her to “come read” the “warning” ticket, then immediately pulls back on her arm, preventing her from moving in the direction that he pointed, now demanding that she “stay right here.” He then commands Bland to “stop moving,” although, as she points out, “You keep moving me!” What was she supposed to do?
4. According to Encinia’s affidavit, at some point after being handcuffed, “Bland began swinging her elbows at me and then kicked my right leg in the shin.” On the dashcam video, a commotion happens out of view of the camera, with Bland complaining that she is being hurt — “You’re about to break my wrist!” and “You knocked my head in the ground; I got epilepsy!” Encinia and another officer insist that Bland stop moving. Encinia can be heard to say, “You are yanking around! When you pull away from me, you are resisting arrest!” (Neither the dashcam video nor a video taken by a bystander shows a discernible kick.)
When Encinia re-enters the frame of the dashcam, he explains to a female officer: “She started yanking away, then kicked me, so I took her straight to the ground.” The female officer points to Encinia’s leg as she says: “Yeah, and there you got it right there.”
Encinia says, “One thing for sure, it’s on video.” Only, it isn’t. Why exactly was Bland walked out of the frame of view of the dashcam for the arrest procedure?
5. The initial video posted by Texas authorities also has a number of visual glitches — vanishing cars, looping sequences — but no apparent audio glitches.
The director of “Selma,” Ava DuVernay, tweeted: “I edit footage for a living. But anyone can see that this official video has been cut. Read/watch. Why?” She included a link to a post pointing out the discrepancies in the video.
According to NBC News:
“Tom Vinger, a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety, blamed a ‘technical issue during posting.’ He said that the department was working to correct the video.”

What kinds of “technical difficulties” were these? Why wouldn’t the audio also have glitches? (Authorities have now released a new, slightly shorter video.)
6. Texas authorities say that, while in the Waller County jail cell, Bland used a trash bag from a trash can in the cell to hang herself. Is it standard procedure to have trash cans with trash bags in jail cells? Is the can secured to the floor? If not, couldn’t it be used by an inmate to hurt herself, or other inmates or jail staff?
According to a report on Wednesday by The Houston Chronicle:
“Bland disclosed on a form at the jail that she previously had attempted suicide over that past year, although she also indicated she was not feeling suicidal at the time of her arrest, according to officials who attended the Tuesday meeting with local and state leaders investigating the case.” Shouldn’t they have known it was a suicide risk?
The Bureau of Justice Statistics points out that suicide is the No. 1 cause of non-illness-related deaths in local jails (although blacks are least likely to commit those suicides), and between 2000 and 2011 about half of those suicides “occurred within the first week of admission.”
Why weren’t more precautions taken, like, oh, I don’t know, removing any suicide risks from the cell?
7. Houston’s Channel 2 aired “exclusive video from inside the Waller County jail cell where Sandra Bland was found dead.” In the video, a trash can — a very large one — is clearly visible. But, strangely, it appears to have a trash bag in it. If Bland used the trash bag to hang herself, where did the one in the can come from? Did they replace it? Why would the jail staff do that?
8. NBC News’ John Yang also toured the cell, and in his video he says that “things are really the same as it was that morning” when officers found Bland’s body, including food (“Dinner Untouched” was the language used in title of the video on NBCNews.com) and a Bible on the bed opened to Psalms. (That Bible appears to be closed in the Channel 2 video. Who opened it between the two videos?).
Photo


Top, a still from Houston’s Channel 2 video shows orange shoes and a closed Bible. Below, a still from an NBC News video, with no shoes and an open Bible.
And what page is the Bible opened to in the NBC video? It is open to Psalm 119 and at the top of the page are verses 109-110: 

“Though I constantly take my life in my hands, I will not forget your law. The wicked have set a snare for me, but I have not strayed from your precepts.” Eerie. Or, convenient.

Also in the Channel 2 video, there are orange shoes on the floor by the bed. In the NBC video, they are gone. Who moved them? Why? Where are they?
Yang says of the trash bag in the can: “Around her neck, they say, was a trash bag, an extra trash bag from this receptacle.” So what gives here? “Extra trash bag”? Was there more than one trash bag in the cell or had that one been replaced?

(It is also worth noting that the video shows what appears to be a rope holding a shower curtain.)
Isn’t this an active investigation? Shouldn’t that cell be treated like a crime scene? Why are reporters allowed to wander through it? Who all has been in it?
Maybe there are innocent and convincing answers to all these questions, and others. I hope so. People need things to make sense. When there are lapses in logic in what people think would be reasonable explanations, suspicion spreads.
  
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On the Death of Sandra Bland and Our Vulnerable Bodies
JULY 24, 2015
Photo
 
Credit
K.L. Ricks
I AM tired of writing about slain black people, particularly when those responsible are police officers, the very people obligated to serve and protect them. I am exhausted. I experience this specific exhaustion with alarming frequency. I am all too aware that I have the luxury of such exhaustion.

One of the greatest lies perpetrated on our culture today is the notion that dash cameras on police cruisers and body cameras on police officers are tools of justice. Video evidence, no matter the source, can document injustice, but rarely does this incontrovertible evidence keep black people safe or prevent future injustices.
Sandra Bland, 28 years old, was pulled over earlier this month in Waller County, Tex., by a state trooper, Brian T. Encinia. She was pulled over for a routine traffic stop. She shouldn’t have been pulled over but she was driving while black, and the reality is that black women and men are pulled over every day for this infraction brought about by the color of their skin.
Photo

 
A vigil for Sandra Bland in Prairie View, Tex., on Sunday.
Credit
Jon Shapley/Houston Chronicle, via Associated Press

We know a lot about Ms. Bland now. She was in the prime of her life, about to start a new job at Prairie View A&M University. She had posted on Facebook earlier this year that she was experiencing depression. She was passionate about civil rights and advocacy. According to an autopsy report, she committed suicide in her jail cell after three days. What I find particularly painful is that her bail was $5,000. Certainly, that is a lot of money, but if the public had known, we could have helped her family raise the funds to get her out.

As a black woman, I feel this tragedy through the marrow of my bones. We all should, regardless of the identities we inhabit.
Recently, my brother and I were talking on the phone as he drove to work. He is the chief executive of a publicly traded company. He was dressed for work, driving a BMW. He was using a hands-free system. These particulars shouldn’t matter but they do in a world where we have to constantly mourn the loss of black lives and memorialize them with hashtags. In this same world, we remind politicians and those who believe otherwise that black lives matter while suffocated by evidence to the contrary.

During the course of our conversation, he was pulled over by an officer who said he looked like an escapee from Pelican Bay State Prison in California. It was a strange story for any number of reasons. My brother told me he would call me right back. In the minutes I waited, my chest tightened. I worried. I stared at my phone. When he called back, no more than seven or eight minutes had passed. He joked: “I thought it was my time. I thought ‘this is it.’ ” He went on with his day because this is a quotidian experience for black people who dare to drive.
Each time I get in my car, I make sure I have my license, registration and insurance cards. I make sure my seatbelt is fastened. I place my cellphone in the handless dock. I check and double check and triple check these details because when (not if) I get pulled over, I want there to be no doubt I am following the letter of the law. I do this knowing it doesn’t really matter if I am following the letter of the law or not. Law enforcement officers see only the color of my skin, and in the color of my skin they see criminality, deviance, a lack of humanity. There is nothing I can do to protect myself, but I am comforted by the illusion of safety.
As a larger, very tall woman, I am sometimes mistaken for a man. I don’t want to be “accidentally” killed for being a black man. I hate that such a thought even crosses my mind. This is the reality of living in this black body. This is my reality of black womanhood, living in a world where I am stripped of my femininity and humanity because of my unruly black body.
There is a code of conduct in emergency situations — women and children first. The most vulnerable among us should be rescued before all others. In reality, this code of conduct is white women and children first. Black women, black children, they are not afforded the luxury of vulnerability. We have been shown this time and again. We remember McKinney, Tex., and a police officer, David Casebolt, holding a young black girl to the ground. We say the names of the fallen. Tamir Rice. Renisha McBride. Natasha McKenna. Tanisha Anderson. Rekia Boyd. We say their names until our throats run dry and there are still more names to add to the list.

During the ill-fated traffic stop, most of which was caught on camera, Mr. Encinia asked Ms. Bland why she was irritated and she told him. She answered the question she was asked. Her voice was steady, confident. Mr. Encinia didn’t like her tone, as if she should be joyful about a traffic stop. He told Ms. Bland to put her cigarette out and she refused. The situation escalated. Mr. Encinia threatened to light her up with his Taser. Ms. Bland was forced to leave her car. She continued to protest. She was placed in handcuffs. She was treated horribly. She was treated as less than human. She protested her treatment. She knew and stated her rights but it did not matter. Her black life and her black body did not matter.

Because Sandra Bland was driving while black, because she was not subservient in the manner this trooper preferred, a routine traffic stop became a death sentence. Even if Ms. Bland did commit suicide, there is an entire system of injustice whose fingerprints left bruises on her throat.

In his impassioned new memoir, “Between the World and Me,” Ta-Nehisi Coates writes, “In America, it is traditional to destroy the black body — it is heritage.” I would take this bold claim a step further. It is also traditional to try and destroy the black spirit. I don’t want to believe our spirits can be broken. Nonetheless, increasingly, as a black woman in America, I do not feel alive. I feel like I am not yet dead.
Roxane Gay is the author of “An Untamed State” and “Bad Feminist” and a contributing opinion writer.
  
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Dashcam video of Sandra Bland’s arrest was clearly edited says “Selma” director Ava DuVernay 

“I edit film for a living,” she said, “but anyone can see that this official video has been cut” VIDEO

Dashcam video of Sandra Bland's arrest was clearly edited says "Selma"  director Ava DuVernay
After days of promising to do so, the Waller County Sheriff’s Office finally released video of Sandra Bland’s arrest taken by the arresting officer’s dashcam — but the footage has been clearly and clumsily edited and looped, with tow truck drivers and white cars reappearing while the audio continues uninterrupted. 
The video that was released is objectionable on its face, without the dubious edits, as Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders noted. “This video of the arrest of Sandra Bland shows totally outrageous police behavior,” he said. “No one should be yanked from her car, thrown to the ground, assaulted and arrested for a minor traffic stop.”
But the fact that the video — which the Waller County Sheriff’s Department dragged its feet for days before releasing — was clearly manipulated is likely to embolden those calling for the Justice Department to launch a formal investigation. At multiple points in the video, the audio continues uninterrupted while the images repeat like a glitch in “The Matrix” — the reappearances of a tow truck driver and a white car are particularly obvious.
This doctoring is so laughably obvious as to be barely removed from someone using MS Paint to copy-paste a gun onto the image of a suspect to justify the use of lethal force. The Texas Department of Safety said that they will look into what they were calling “alleged” edits, but as “Selma” director Ava DuVernay noted, anyone who trusts their eyes can tell that the footage has been doctored:
I edit footage for a living. But anyone can see that this official video has been cut. Read/watch. Why? #SandraBland http://bennorton.com/dashcam-video-of-violent-arrest-of-sandra-bland-was-edited/ 
Photo published for Dashcam Video of Violent Arrest of Sandra Bland Was Edited | Ben...
Given what wasn’t edited out of the video, contemplating whatever was is a harrowing proposition. Contrary to arresting officer’s affidavit that Bland “was swinging her elbows at me and then kicked my right leg in the shin,” causing “pain in my right leg and small cuts on my right hand,” the video clearly shows Brian Encinia being unnecessarily hostile to Bland — who is, by her own admission, annoyed that he had tailed her until he could manufacture a reason for pulling her over.
Encinia aggressively enters her vehicle, telling her that he will “yank you out of her” if she doesn’t comply with his directive “to step out of the car.”
“Step out or I will remove you,” he said.
“I’m getting removed for a failure to signal?” she asked.
“Get out of the car or I will remove you,” he replied.
“I’m calling my lawyer,” she said.
“I’m going to yank you out of here,” Encinia replied, and proceeded to do exactly that, at which point the situation quickly escalated.
Watch the video of her arrest as released by the Waller County Sheriff’s Department below.

Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at skaufman@salon.com.
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Houston Chronicle
Pastor says Waller DA threatened him
Updated 10:02 pm, Tuesday, June 3, 2014
HEMPSTEAD – A pastor on Tuesday accused the Waller County prosecutor of sending him threatening and belligerent text messages after the clergyman publicly accused the official of primarily prosecuting minorities, not whites.

The Rev. Walter Pendleton made the claims while standing with his wife, Alice, and several supporters outside of the office of District Attorney Elton Mathis.

Pendleton alleged that after he requested information on prosecution rates by ethnicity in the county northwest of Houston, the prosecutor became abusive in text messages sent May 28.
“Don’t ever call me again. You went over the line,” Mathis wrote in one text.

Pendleton texted back that Mathis was engaging in “selective prosecution,” according to a transcript provided by Pendleton.
Mathis: “You are too stupid to know what that word means.” The prosecutor then cited examples of white public officials whom he had successfully prosecuted.

“My hounds ain’t even started yet dumb ass,” Mathis wrote. “Keep talking. When I talk people will listen. Keep talking and I will sue your ass for slander. It works both ways. ‘Dr.’ Take your fake Dr. Ass and jump off a high cliff.”

Pendleton, pastor of Pendleton Chapel Baptist Church in Hempstead, said Tuesday, “I am afraid of my life because he said his hounds are out. What do hounds do? They hunt.” 

Mathis, who has been district attorney in Waller County for more then seven years, confirmed that he had sent the text messages. He said he was commenting on Pendleton’s character, not threatening him.

“Those statements were made by me in anger but I stand behind them,” the prosecutor said.

Pendleton said the exchange began when he sent a text message to Mathis that day asking that he call him. The prosecutor then phoned Alice Pendleton, leading to a heated phone conversation between them.

Mathis said he believes Walter Pendleton is trying to intimidate him in his handling of criminal cases.

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Houston Chronicle 
Community groups call for removal of Waller County district attorney
Author: Mary Benton, Reporter, mbenton@kprc.com
Published On: Jun 09 2014 06:08:09 PM CDT   Updated On: Jun 09 2014 06:33:34 PM CDT
WALLER COUNTY, Texas –
Several community groups are calling for the removal or resignation of the Waller County district attorney.

At a news conference Monday, Pastor Walter Pendleton accused Ethon Mathis, the District Attorney of Waller County, of sending him threatening text messages after Pendleton requested information about the prosecution rates of minorities versus white citizens. Pendleton has filed a grievance with the State Bar of Texas.

“We hope justice is brought and to uncover the lifetime of terror that we’ve suffered in Waller County,” Pendleton said while standing with his attorney and representatives from several groups supporting him.
In a copy of the text messages released to the media, Pendleton asks Mathis to call him, but things quickly became heated.
Mathis replies, “Don’t ever call me again. You went over the line.”
Mathis was reportedly upset after finding out that Pendleton protested against him for two days.

In his text message response, Pendleton accuses Mathis of “selective prosecution” and tells him to “Call your hounds off.”
Mathis texts back, “You are too stupid to know what that means.”
After listing the names of white officials that his office has successfully prosecuted, Mathis texts, “My hounds ain’t even started yet dumb (expletive) Keep talking and I will sue your (expletive) for slander.”

On Monday, Mathis confirmed to KPRC Local 2 that he did send the text messages to Pendleton.

“If someone is going to openly slander me and my office and the good job we’re doing for this community, I’m going to stand up and speak my mind,” Mathis said.

The district attorney says he and Pendleton used to have a close relationship and worked together on community issues, but that bond was severed because of mistrust.

“I think the State Bar of Texas will look at this (complaint) and see it is an attempt to intimidate this office from seeking justice in the community,” Mathis said.

Mathis says he does not plan to resign from his elected office.
Pendleton’s attorney said the case is an example of an elected official who has abused is authority.

“It’s official oppression under the laws of the state of Texas if a district attorney makes a threat against citizen and it’s recorded and it’s documented,” attorney Robert Bennett said.

The complaint with the State Bar of Texas was filed on June 3 and the issue could take several months to resolve.

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