Lawmakers question DPS about late release of Sandra Bland cell phone video
AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - A hearing over recently released footage from Sandra Bland's phone, turned tense in a house committee on county affairs Friday morning at the Capitol. “We had one point of view, and that point of view was from a dash cam. They didn't have a body cam at that time. It showed a very different scenario, and that's the reason Trooper Encinia was indicted for perjury. We didn't know the reason why. We hadn't seen that point of view,” said Rep. Garnet Coleman, (D) Houston.
Bland was pulled over by Trooper Brian Encinia in Waller County in July 2015, after failing to signal. The stop escalated, and three days later, authorities say Bland hung herself in a cell.
The dash cam footage was released not long after the incident, but the cell phone video is just now surfacing. “The Department of Public Safety has not illegally withheld evidence from Sandra Bland's family or her legal team. The video that she recorded during the traffic stop on July 10, 2015 was provided to counsel for Ms. Bland's family by attorneys representing Waller County. This occurred on Oct. 30, 2015,” said Phillip Adkins, general counsel for Texas DPS.
But committee chairman Garnet Coleman says what he received from DPS was unorganized and confusing and DPS did not tell him about any cell phone footage. “The disk you sent me, you just data dumped everything in the disk with no way to find things in the disk,” said Coleman.
“I believe we sent you a 94 page Texas Ranger report,” said Adkins.
“I tried to go into the disk you sent me and we couldn't make heads or tails out of it,” said Coleman.
“We've been absolutely transparent through this entire process and if perhaps you didn't get it, I apologize for that. I apologize you didn't understand it, because you did get it,” said Steve McCraw, director, Texas DPS.
Coleman told officials, they need to be more forthcoming in the future about evidence they are handing over. Bland's mother was present for the hearing, she said she will wait for the result of future hearings before officially commenting.
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