Activism · Black People · Black Women · Police Brutality · Racism

#WhatHappenedToSandraBland : Dash Cam Breakdown

Main image via Facebook. This is mostly a stream of consciousness. I watched the dash cam video and felt the need to my thoughts and feelings. This case is still developing and everything looks suspicious. I’m including pics of Sandra Bland from every day life to show her humanity. She didn’t deserve this pain.

First things first: Sandra Bland did nothing wrong; nothing to deserve to be arrested in the first place. And the dash cam has me feeling so many things.

Bland was not combative, especially in the beginning. She answered the cop’s questions about why she was irritated then he got an attitude. Asking her if she was done as if he didn’t question her in the first place.

So he asked her to put her cigarette out as some sort of obedience test – a method to put her in her place without really needing to do so. He expected her to comply so much that he didn’t even look at her when he asked her to put it out. So it became a problem when she didn’t give him a yes sir and immediately complied. Instead she exercised her right by asking questions. And that’s when he got pissed of.

It seems tricky at first cause he SEEMS pleasant enough. But really his pleasant attitude lasts so long as he has someone pleading with him. That clearly was not Sandra’s mood at the time and it probably never would have been. And so his pleasantries left and he began to escalate his energy and voice.

He tried to get her out of the car; cited the law when she challenged him and asked questions. Yet again these are actions he did not expect. I imagine cops can easily get on a power trip when they’re used to people who are scared of the law. Many people will play nice just to be able to continue their day. I’m sure he expected this but Sandra wasn’t having it. She was an activist who knew her rights and judging from the videos I’ve seen from her social media, she didn’t seem the type to comply just to make a cop feel better. She described herself as someone committed calling out racism; as someone committed to speaking when she sees something wrong. Truthfully? She acted and spoke within her rights and challenged the cop when he wanted her to do otherwise.

via Facebook

He opened her door without a second thought and eventually threatened to yank her. She defended herself when he tried yanking her and was only convinced to comply when he threatened her with a taser. At that point, she probably knew that if she didn’t get out, we would probably have witnessed a swifter “arrest” or a more public death.

He called backup while antagonizing Sandra Bland. You can hear him provide one of those police code numbers when he called in yet he could not tell Sandra why she was under arrest. I’m sure he thought he could subdue her and THEN give her the information she needed but that’s not how it works. He wanted control.

This man bullied Sandra. He antagonized her and made it seem wrong for her to voice her feelings about the whole process. As if she couldn’t have an opinion about what was happening to her.

The second cop came and fell into the original cop’s groove: yelling at the person in cuffs. Because if you’re not a cop then you’re obviously wrong. So they ignored her screams of pain, which broke my heart when I heard them. They cared not when she mentioned she had epilepsy. You can even hear the first officer saying “Good!”

The worst part is hearing the original officer talking to his sergeant after they placed Sandra in another car. The story he presents to his sergeant is a lie. He said he kept telling her to calm down. He didn’t. He said he tried talking to her and giving her information -Nope. Didn’t happen. And he even painted Sandra as the aggressor who got mad, flailed her arms about and eventually kicked him in the leg. via Facebook

There was talk of assault. He commented that she was arrested from the moment he pulled her over because it’s not like she could have driven away. So now we see a cop who doesn’t know the legalities of his own job.

And it pisses me off. Because he escalated the entire situation at each level. And even if he didn’t, he made no moves to de-escalate like he told his sergeant. He yelled. He got physical and he answered no questions. Even if Sandra was being belligerent and disrespectful, it was his responsibility to keep calm, write the ticket and drive off. But he did not so he is at fault.

At my retail job, I bear the responsibility of remaining calm when a customer gets belligerent and begins yelling at me. It is my job let the customer’s anger be while I speak respectfully. I should never raise my voice. Nor should I provide further reason to anger said customer. Why is this cop not held to the same standard? He is responsible for this getting out of hand. He should be held accountable.

At no point of the video did anybody tell her she was under arrest. Nor did anyone try to reason with her or understand her perspective. Nobody cared. And that led to another suspicious death, another Black person killed by the police, and another racially charged situation tipping on an already racially tensed country.

My heart goes out to Sandy, her family, friends, and every Black person processing grief while realizing “That could have been (and still can be) me.”

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