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DPS Director Says Officer Who Arrested Sandra Bland Violated Protocol

The state trooper involved in the traffic stop has been removed from street patrol.

Screen shot of video of Sandra exiting car
Screenshot from Department of Public Safety dash cam video shows Sandra Bland as she exits her car after DPS officer Brian Encinia has drawn his taser on July 10, 2015.

 

Dashcam footage of the arrest in Prairie View shows Bland protested when the state trooper told her to put out her cigarette and exit her vehicle. It quickly escalated from there. Bland can be heard complaining that she’s in pain as the officer handcuffs her.

The video has raised questions about whether Bland’s rights were violated.

Rebecca Robertson is with the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas. She says officers can use force to protect their safety, but Bland’s cigarette didn’t seem to pose any danger. Robertson says citizens should know their rights, but it’s also good to be practical.

“The safest course is to obey the officer’s commands even if you know that what you’re being asked to do is not within the officer’s legal authority and to make a complaint after the fact,” Robertson says.

Speaking at a recent press conference Tuesday in Prairie View, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw said the state trooper who arrested Sandra Bland violated several protocols during the traffic stop.

“One of the many procedures is letting the individual know in terms of what action is going to be taken,” McCraw said. “Secondly, regardless of the situation, doesn’t matter where it happens, a DPS State Trooper’s got an obligation to exhibit professionalism and be courteous throughout the entire contact, and that wasn’t the case in this situation.”

DPS released a dashcam video of the arrest Tuesday. McCraw said the trooper has been removed from street duty.

“He will not go back to working the streets until a full investigation has been completed and a determination has been made at that point,” McCraw said. 

 

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Tomeka Weatherspoon

Tomeka Weatherspoon

Senior Producer

Tomeka Weatherspoon is an Emmy-award winning producer. She produces segments, the weekly television program Arts InSight, the short film showcase The Territory and a forthcoming digital series on innovation. Originally from the Midwest, Tomeka studied convergence journalism from the world’s first journalism school at the University of Missouri. She has...

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