Cannon Lambert, a lawyer who represents the Bland family, said the video, by showing Ms. Bland with a cellphone in her hand, seriously undercut the trooper’s claim that he feared for his safety as he approached the woman’s vehicle.
“What the video shows is that Encinia had no reason to be in fear of his safety,” Mr. Lambert, who represented the family in a $1.9 million legal settlement, said in a telephone interview. “The video shows that he wasn’t in fear of his safety. You could see that it was a cellphone, He was looking right at it.”
Mr. Encinia said during internal interviews with Department of Public Safety officials that he had been worried about his safety. “My safety was in jeopardy at more than one time,” he told department interviewers.The prosecuting team concluded that Mr. Encinia’s permanent ban from law enforcement was the best option because there was no certainty of obtaining a conviction on the perjury charge, one of the prosecutors said at the time... Ms. Bland’s death in a largely rural part of southeast Texas unified African-American leaders throughout the state, leading to the enactment of the Sandra Bland Act in 2017, which requires training in de-escalation techniques for all police officers, sets up protections in custody for people with mental health and substance abuse issues and requires that independent law enforcement agencies investigate jail deaths... “Get out of the car,” the officer shouts as he thrusts a Taser toward her. “I will light you up. Get out. Now.”.. Ms. Bland was pulled over near the campus of Prairie View A & M University in Waller County, where she had been planning to begin a new job, after the trooper said she failed to signal a turn. But the traffic stop became heated, and Mr. Encinia ordered Ms. Bland out of the car.
After the trooper told her to “get off the phone,” Ms. Bland responded: “I’m not on the phone. I have a right to record. This is my property.”
.. The video was released by WFAA in partnership with the nonprofit Investigative Network. Its chief reporter, Brian Collister, said the video had been in the hands of law investigators until it was obtained by his news organization. Members of Ms. Bland’s family called on Texas officials to re-examine the case after Mr. Collister showed them the video, according to the WFAA report.
.. Mr. Lambert, the family’s lawyer, told The Times that the release of the video raised questions about prosecutors’ decision not to press ahead with the perjury case, saying the recording undercut Mr. Encinia’s claim that he feared for his safety.
“So if the video showed that he had no basis of being in fear of his safety, and he lied about that, then you would think they would be using that video,” he said, calling prosecutors’ decision not pursue the case “extremely troubling.”
A team of five special prosecutors was assigned to the grand jury investigation. One of the team members Shawn McDonald, a Houston lawyer, said on Monday that he was not involved in the decision to drop the charges and pushed back at Mr. Lambert’s criticism of the team’s performance.
“For him to come back three years later is frankly quite ridiculous,” said Mr. McDonald, who added that he was “proud” of the investigation into the case.
Mr. McDonald said he first saw Ms. Bland’s video more than three years ago. “It was her cellphone so it was taken as evidence when we investigated the case,” he said.
Evidence typically was not released, he said, though a decision was made to release the trooper’s video shortly after the case began unfolding in an effort “to be transparent because of the concern everyone had with her arrest and subsequent suicide.”
Chip Lewis, a Houston lawyer who represented Mr. Encinia in the investigation, said his client was in a new career “wholly unrelated” to law enforcement, but he offered few details. “He’s working in the private sector, supporting his wife and family and living a quiet life,” Mr. Lewis said.
“Legs straight out or you’re getting tased,” the police officer can be heard saying on video, talking to an unarmed black man sitting on a curb.
The man appears to begin following the officer’s directions, then folds his legs up again. The officer fires his stun gun. The man writhes in pain, then is handcuffed by officers while lying on his stomach.
That encounter, captured by a bystander on a cellphone video Thursday morning in Lancaster, Pa., and then widely shared after being posted to Facebook, quickly led to a public outcry, including from the town’s mayor, who said an investigation would be conducted.
.. Nationwide, African-American people are far more likely than white people and other groups to be subjected to use of force by the police
.. Tasers, said Mr. Alpert, the criminologist, are often used by the police more freely than firearms when officers are seeking to get someone to comply with orders. But, Mr. Alpert said, Tasers themselves can be deadly.
.. when officers responded to reports that a man was attacking a group of people, they found Mr. Williams demanding his Social Security card from a woman.
.. The Police Bureau said in its report that directing suspects to straighten their legs helps prevent them from running away or fighting with police. “Noncompliance is often a precursor to someone that is preparing to flee or fight,” the report states.