Happy Birthday Sandra Bland! We Continue To Say Her Name

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Sandra Bland.
Say her name again.
Sandra Bland.
She was one of us. What happened to her could have easily happened to us. That’s why we continually say her name. Sandra Bland.

Sandra Annette Bland was from a suburb of Chicago, and was one of five sisters. She attended Prairie View A&M University outside Hempstead in Waller County, Texas, where she was a member of the Sigma Gamma Rho sorority. She graduated in 2009 with a degree in agriculture. At Prairie View, she was recruited as a summer counselor for three years, played in a band, and volunteered for a senior citizens advocacy group.

Bland returned to Illinois in 2009. She worked in administration for Cook’s, a food-service equipment supplier, a job she left not long before her death. She had been due to start a temporary job on August 3, 2015, with Prairie View as a summer program associate.

Dashcam video shows the encounter Bland had with Texas State Trooper Brian Encinia started as a normal conversation but grew tense after Encinia asked her to put out her cigarette.

“I am in my car. Why do I have to put out my cigarette?” Bland said.

“You can step on out now,” Encinia replied.

Bland refused to get out of her car. The trooper opened her door and tried to pull her out of the vehicle.

In the video, Encinia told Bland she was under arrest. She repeatedly asked why. The trooper did not answer, other than to say, “I am giving you a lawful order.”

At one point, after Encinia aimed what appeared to be a Taser at Bland, she stepped out of her car. Later, she can be heard saying: “You’re a real man now. You just slammed me, knocked my head in the ground.”

In the arrest warrant, Encinia said Bland was out of control, calling her “combative and uncooperative.”

“Bland began swinging her elbows at me and then kicked my right leg in the shin,” Encinia said in the statement. “Force was used to subdue Bland to the ground, to which Bland continued to fight back.”

But that wasn’t the truth.

In a 2019 video from Blands own phone that got released FOUR YEARS after her death shows something different. The 39-second clip, unearthed by Dallas-Fort Worth news channel WFAA, shows the altercation between Bland and former state trooper Brian Encinia during a traffic stop. It is the first video to show part of the incident from Bland’s point of view after police dashboard video was released shortly after Bland’s death.

HEMPSTEAD, TX – JULY 10: In this handout photo provided by the Waller County Sherrif’s Office, Sandra Bland poses for a mug shot at the County Jail July 10, 2015 in Hempstead, Texas. An investigation is ongoing into Bland’s death while in police custody. (Photo by Waller County Sherrif’s Office via Getty Images)

It shows Encinia leaning into Bland’s vehicle and taking out his Taser shortly after he had…