Sandra Bland's sister slams law enforcement for not prosecuting former officer Brian Encinia: 'They chose to cut a deal'
28-year-old Bland's death had been dismissed as suicide but the new video raises suspicion that officials had held back evidence about her questionable arrest and subsequent death
Newly discovered footage from Sandra Bland's cellphone shows — from her perspective — exactly what happened during the infamous traffic stop when she was pulled over by Texas state trooper Brian Encinia in June, 2015.
It was only three days later that 28-year-old Bland was found dead in her jail cell in Waller County, Houston.
Bland's death had been dismissed as suicide but the new video raises suspicion that officials had held back evidence about her questionable arrest and subsequent death.
Bland's sister Shante Needham told MEA WorldWide: "We wish we had control over the criminal investigation. We NEVER did."
"This video is confirmation that the special prosecutors could have prosecuted former officer Brian Encinia but chose to cut a deal. As a result, we've been made to move on. We can't tell you how proud we are that we've managed to do that through sheer will and determination," Needham added.
The new video was released by WFAA as part of a partnership with the Investigative Network and has reignited the Bland family's suspicion that Texas officials held back vital evidence.
The video was around 39 seconds long and was shot by Bland on her phone.
Her family has revealed that they have never seen the footage before and are asking officials in Texas to re-examine the case.
"This serves as our family's formal response to the WFAA segment that aired yesterday evening which focused on new cellphone footage that shows what Sandra experienced during her unlawful arrest four years ago leading to her wrongful death while in police custody," Needham shared.
"This is why it's so incredibly important for you to watch HBO's Say Her Name: The Life & Death of Sandra Bland to learn more about our personal journey. #shareworthy."
Texas Department of Public Safety officials has since said that the video was not withheld.
The DPS released a statement which read, "The premise that the video was not produced as a part of the discovery process is wrong. A hard drive containing copies of 820 Gigabytes of data compiled by DPS from its investigation, including the dashcam videos, jail video footage and data from Sandra Bland’s cell phone, was part of discovery."