Video now surfacing of Black Lives Matter activist Sandra Bland's July 10 arrest is sparking new questions over the events that preceded her death while in police custody three days later. The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) on Tuesday released dash cam footage from Brian Encinia's police car, during which the now suspended officer is seen and heard threatening to drag the 28-year-old out of her car and "light her up" with a Taser. But as journalist Ben Norton first laid out on his blog, the roughly 52-minute long video of Bland's arrest appears to have been edited.
If you watch the video, what's obvious is the dash cam tape is not consistently played from start to finish as the footage repeatedly loops and stutters. In Norton's first example at 25:05, a man is seen stepping out of a tow truck parked in front of Bland's car. He begins to walk back toward the police car's camera before stepping out of the frame to the right. At 25:19, the man inexplicably reappears by the tow truck and does the same walk back to the police car and out of the frame. The audio caught on the dash cam, however, is not repeated and instead continues as normal.
The second apparent edit takes place from 32:37 to 34:12. Norton points out that a white car drives in from the left side of the frame before it mysteriously disappears. The footage is looped as the white car reenters from the left and proceeds to make a left turn. At 33:04 and 33:06, the same white car enters the frame and disappears. During that nearly two-minute re-loop, a second white car can also be seen entering from the left and making the same left turn multiple times. Again, audio of Encinia's voice as he talks about how he attempted to deescalate the situation continues as normal — as if the video wasn't repeating.
Even Selma director Ava DuVernay chimed in on the apparent manipulated footage, tweeting, "I edit footage for a living. But anyone can see that this official video has been cut." Yes, you don't have to be a video expert to know people and cars aren't just magically conjured out of thin air.
It's unclear who may have been behind the apparent edit. When asked by NBC News about the alleged edits, DPS spokesman Tom Vinger said, "I will have to check in the morning. I can't speculate without looking at the CD."
But the real question is what was really in those seconds and minutes that were edited over. After all, now that Bland's case is being handled as a murder investigation instead of a suicide as the police claimed, what's missing in the video could hold more answers into what led to her death. And if you don't want to take Norton's word for it, you can see for yourself in the full video below.