Sandra Bland Arrest Video: Texas Standard Listeners Respond

The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has released the dash cam video in the arrest of 28-year-old Sandra Bland. (Note: The video was uploaded to YouTube yesterday evening; it has since been taken down, after people pointed out errors and inconsistencies in the video, which led many to believe it had been edited. A DPS spokesman denied editing the video, and said this morning they would re-upload the footage without errors or omissions.)

In the video, DPS Officer Brian T. Encinia asks Bland to extinguish her cigarette — and when she asks why, the situation quickly escalates.

Ms. Bland is removed from her car, under the threat of being tazed. She was ultimately arrested, charged with assaulting a public servant and taken to the Waller County Jail. After three days, she was found hanging from her cell in what officials are calling a suicide.

But what were Sandra Bland’s rights during the traffic stop?

Is it illegal to smoke a cigarette while you’re pulled over by a cop? Can officers lawfully order you out of your vehicle without explaining why?

Jim Harrington with the Texas Civil Rights Project joined Texas Standard to explain your rights are during a traffic stop. Here are some of the responses we received to our story:

Did Sandra Bland’s knowledge of her rights escalate the situation?

Some wondered whether this video is representative of a larger problem in how police interact with people of color across the state of Texas:

Some white listeners shared interactions they’ve had with police during traffic stops:

Some had questions about determining blame in a suicide case:

And others still had questions about those initial skips and tape loops in the dash video:

But the biggest question of all: Will the Sandra Bland case change how the public interacts with police during traffic stops?

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. Keep them coming by tweeting us: @TexasStandard.

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