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Was Sandra Bland Murdered?

Hey America! Can we go more than a few weeks without another black person dying in police custody?  I mean holy hell?  What is going on here? How many times does the same broken record need to replay before someone realizes the needle is off?

Speaking of needles…

How does a traffic stop for failing to use a turn signal turn into a dead woman in a jail cell? Was Sandra Bland murdered? How does an irate activist woman, who can’t wait to take her case to court, allegedly commit suicide days later?

I don’t know Sandra Bland, but I know she was a strong woman.  I know she was a woman who had self respect.  I also know she knew how to stand up for herself and that she couldn’t wait for her day in court.

Instead, the police are telling us that she is a person who hung herself to death with a garbage bag.

Don’t Insult My Intelligence

I have been practicing criminal law for a long time; I have litigated thousands of criminal cases and have literally read thousands and thousands of pages of police reports.  I have watched more dash-cam videos than I could ever count.  I have been to trial over 100 times and have deposed and cross-examined more law enforcement officers than I care to remember.

But Sandra Bland’s case presented a first for me.

I have never seen a case where the arrest came before the crime.

As Trooper Brian Encinia clearly states on video, Ms. Bland was under arrest for resisting arrest – which makes no fucking sense whatsoever.

Resisting arrest inherently must follow an officer’s attempt to arrest a person for some other crime. In this case there was no other crime! Bland was being cited for a non-criminal traffic infraction. She was guilty of changing lanes without using a turn signal and that is all.

In fact, the encounter between Trooper Encinia and Sandra Bland was under control until the trooper asked Bland to put out her cigarette.  When she refused, he ordered her out of the car.

But why did he order out of the car? Depending on the reason, the order may either be lawful or unlawful.  For instance, a police officer can order you out of your car to conduct a pat down for officer safety.

However, in this case, officer safety was not the reason.  Trooper Encinia clearly ordered her out of the car because he was miffed. His order only came after she said, “I’m in my car… why do I have to put out my cigarette?”

Without flinching, he immediately ordered her out of the car.

When Bland said she didn’t have to get out of her car because she wasn’t under arrest, Trooper Encinia then clarified that she WAS under arrest.  This was the first time he had advised her she was under arrest.

But wait – I thought this was a traffic stop for failing to use a turn signal?  When did this turn into a criminal matter?  Seconds later when Bland asked what she was under arrest for, Trooper Encinia clarified that it was for “resisting arrest”.

Which, AGAIN, makes absolutely no sense!  Especially since there was no probable cause to arrest for any crime.

Its like Trooper Encinia is showing us a picture of a square and telling us it is a circle.  Also, if we are going for a ride on the popo crazy train, Trooper Encinia should at least make it entertaining. Tell the lady shes under arrest for the murder of Jon Snow or Jimmy Hoffa.

Something.  Anything.  Throw us a bone here!

Angry Women on a Mission Don’t Commit Suicide

There was absolutely nothing about Sandra Bland to suggest she was on the verge of ending it all.  She has no known history of mental problems, drug abuse, or being committed.sandra-bland

On the contrary, she seems to have had everything going for her.  She just moved – literally the day before – from Chicago and was about to start a new life in a new city.  She had a new job and all positive things before her.

Not to mention, don’t you think its odd that the same woman who had this outrageous encounter with the police ALSO hung herself to death in a jail cell?  What are the odds of that?  Does lightening strike twice?

Not to mention, how did an inmate locked in a jail cell gain access to a garbage bag? There are no garbage bags in jail cells.  She was only in jail a couple days and did not have free roam of the facility.  She was not a trustee and she didn’t work in the kitchen or on cleanup detail.

Also, how does a person use a garbage bag as a noose? Its not like she was found next to an empty pill bottle with a plastic bag over her head.  Not to mention the fact that Sandra Bland was PISSED OFF.  She was “glad” everything was caught on camera and “could not wait” to get to court.

There is no way she would kill herself.  Doing so would deprive her of the ability to fight back.

I’m calling bravo sierra on this one.

Freddie Grey All Over Again

This case presents a hole in time.  We do not know what happened from the moment Sandra Bland was arrested to the moment she was found hanging in her jail cell.  Personally, I think Sandra’s death was probably very similar to Freddie Grey’s.

I fully believe Sandra continued to express herself back at the jail both verbally and by being uncooperative.  I also believe Trooper Encinia continued to act true to form back at the jail. I would not be surprised if Sandra mouthed off the wrong thing, made the wrong gesture, or did something that caused him to snap again – just like he did on the roadside.

Remember, whenever you investigate a case, your suspicions and conclusions must be fact and evidence driven.  In this case, we already know we are dealing with a maniac cop.

But what about the surveillance video at the jail?  Doesn’t that exonerate the police?

No it does not.

This video does not capture everything.  Its field of view is limited and only captured what happened at that specific location.  It would not, for example, capture an incident that happened at another part of the jail which resulted in an internal injury that caused death days later after a slow bleed – such as a hematoma.

Did Sandra Bland get a boot to the neck at some point? Was her head slammed down to the concrete? Was her neck twisted out of range? Was a weapon used against her? Did a grown man sit on her chest or back and snap her ribs?  Did she suffer internal bleeding?

We need an honest autopsy to know the answers to these questions.

Whatever happened, I strongly suspect she sustained some kind of injury that lead to a slow death.  Whether it was a hematoma on her brain, a spinal cord injury, or some other internal trauma, I suspect more combat happened back at the police station or jail that no one is talking about publicly.

This would be a great opportunity for someone with a conscious to come forward as a whistle blower.  They would be protected by law and would serve their soul good.

Either way, I thoroughly believe something had to happen to Sandra Bland off camera and it was so bad, that these cops did what they had to do to cover it up.

I have seen police cover ups in MANY criminal cases.  The classic move is for cops to beat a suspect up and then arrest him for battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest, and if they really dislike the guy, also depriving an officer of his radio or gun.

It happens every day in every major city in this country.  Don’t be fooled.  I have the cases and can name the names.

Fortunately for my clients, I was able to find independent eye witnesses in one case, audio recordings in another, and forensic evidence in a third to get all charges dropped by prosecutors.

Conclusion

This case is correctly being investigated as a homicide.  Too much does not make sense.  From the outrageous encounter with a maniac cop to the incomprehensible suicide by garbage bag.  There are just too many strange occurrences in the same case to write it off.

At this juncture, I want to see an honest autopsy performed.  I want to know what her internal organs looked like as well as an MRI of her brain.  This case should be investigated solely by the FBI and the US Department of Justice.  No one in Texas should touch it.

Ultimately, it will be very interesting to see where the evidence takes us.  If Sandra was murdered or manslaughtered, as I suspect, I really do hope justice is served and her name is vindicated.

She deserves it and America deserves it.