T Nation

Sandy Bland Video and Subsequent Suicide


#1

Anyone seen this? I don't get it.

Their all cordial until the officer asks Bland to put out her cigarette. Then he wants her to get out of the car without telling her why. When she refuses he arrests her....for what? Resisting arrest for not knowing what she was arrested for? Unless she was being arrested for failure to use a turn signal.

After he handed her the ticket, it was over, he should have just walked away. Although I did not view this thinking the officer was at fault, now I see he clearly escalated the situation.

http://news.yahoo.com/dashcam-video-shows-confrontational-texas-traffic-stop-073250136.html

Then 2 days later, Bland, a civil rights activist btw, was found dead hanging in her jail cell. The cops say suicide, the defense and family say no way.

Did I miss something, interpret something wrong?

What's your take?


#2

My gawd, that was appalling. That cop is fired right? RIGHT?

If you distill all the crap out of it, it boiled down to him arresting her for resisting arrest. How the fuck does that work?


#3

Why didn’t she just use her stinkin’ blinker, sheesh.


#4

[quote]on edge wrote:
My gawd, that was appalling. That cop is fired right? RIGHT?

If you distill all the crap out of it, it boiled down to him arresting her for resisting arrest. How the fuck does that work?[/quote]

He’s been put on a desk until the investigation is finished.


#5

[quote]Gkhan wrote:

Anyone seen this? I don’t get it.

Their all cordial until the officer asks Bland to put out her cigarette. Then he wants her to get out of the car without telling her why. When she refuses he arrests her…for what? Resisting arrest for not knowing what she was arrested for? Unless she was being arrested for failure to use a turn signal.

After he handed her the ticket, it was over, he should have just walked away. Although I did not view this thinking the officer was at fault, now I see he clearly escalated the situation.

http://news.yahoo.com/dashcam-video-shows-confrontational-texas-traffic-stop-073250136.html

Then 2 days later, Bland, a civil rights activist btw, was found dead hanging in her jail cell. The cops say suicide, the defense and family say no way.

Did I miss something, interpret something wrong?

What’s your take?[/quote]

I don’t think you got anything wrong. The cop is clearly in the wrong according to the video. The situation ending in the young lady’s death is tragic. I would really, really hope the police did not kill her in custody, unfortunately, I cannot rule out foul play. It’s not unprecedented.


#6

[quote]Gkhan wrote:
Then he wants her to get out of the car without telling her why.[/quote]

He doesn’t have to tell her why.

Resisting arrest.

A Police Officer does not have to tell you why you are being arrested on the scene.

Apparently something happened that was not audible on this video.

Why? Maybe he smelled an illegal substance. Perhaps he saw something in the car that didn’t seem right. An officer does not have to hand you a ticket and allow you to be on your merry way if he recognizes that another law has been broken.

Let’s say that he does not have a great demeanor when it comes to dealing with loud mouths. But, then again loud mouth behavior can be interpreted as threatening, abusive and she certainly did not comply with a lawful order of a police officer which in and of itself is a crime.

Yes, we need more of them.

Of course the defense says “no way” this could be worth millions to the family. Ask yourself this, why would a police officer open the cell and hang the defendant? Who in their right mind would do such a thing? Because she was abusive? They deal with abusive people of all colors every day. I bet if you check her history she was probably on meds for depression or some other mental illness. Obviously, it is tragic but I highly doubt the cops had anything to do with her suicide.

Yes, pretty much all of it. But don’t feel badly most would get the same take without fully understanding Police procedure and the Penal Code.

By the way for some of you younger guys seeing this. Keep in mind that when you get pulled over for a traffic ticket it is always helpful to comply with the Officers requests. The problem being that you never know the temperament of the officer you are screwing with. Most are good and just want to do their jobs and go home. But occasionally you will mouth off to the wrong cop at the wrong time. (I am not saying that the above Cop was in the wrong)

But being lippy, blowing smoke in the cops face etc. won’t help you in any way if you have a cop who isn’t going to put up with your bullshit. I know there are plenty of Internet experts who know the law and feel that they can mouth off and do what they like. But, keep in mind at that particular moment you are under the power of the state. That Police officer can call one, two or a hundred other officers to back him up. And you might be left sitting in a jail cell all busted up talking to yourself about how your rights were violated.

We don’t live in a perfect world and we never will. Good manners and being polite to everyone, especially someone in authority is just the smart thing to do.


#7

Zeb, did you watch the video? He hands her the warning, asks her if there is anything wrong which is none of his business, he tells her to put out the cigarette, she refuses saying she’s allowed to smoke in her own car, he says get out, she says for what? I’m not under arrest. and he says yes you are.

She was arrested for resisting arrest.

So, being mouthy, not putting out a cigarette or refusing to get out of a car = resisting arrest?

When, exactly, in the sequence of events did she resist arrest? Did he arrest her for refusing to exit the vehicle?

I admit, once she was out of the car she was out of control and should have just complied, but he said she was under arrest before it had even escalated.

It’s been how many days since her death? If the cop involved suspected she was driving while impaired, or smelled marijuana, why hasn’t that been brought out? You think the cops would release those details.


#8

That cop is a total piece of shit.

Regardless of whether she killed herself or someone killed her, he is still at least indirectly responsible for her death.

This is the everyday bullshit that gives cops a bad name.


#9

[quote]ZEB wrote:

[quote]Gkhan wrote:
Then he wants her to get out of the car without telling her why.[/quote]

He doesn’t have to tell her why.

Resisting arrest.

A Police Officer does not have to tell you why you are being arrested on the scene.

Apparently something happened that was not audible on this video.

Why? Maybe he smelled an illegal substance. Perhaps he saw something in the car that didn’t seem right. An officer does not have to hand you a ticket and allow you to be on your merry way if he recognizes that another law has been broken.

Let’s say that he does not have a great demeanor when it comes to dealing with loud mouths. But, then again loud mouth behavior can be interpreted as threatening, abusive and she certainly did not comply with a lawful order of a police officer which in and of itself is a crime.

Yes, we need more of them.

Of course the defense says “no way” this could be worth millions to the family. Ask yourself this, why would a police officer open the cell and hang the defendant? Who in their right mind would do such a thing? Because she was abusive? They deal with abusive people of all colors every day. I bet if you check her history she was probably on meds for depression or some other mental illness. Obviously, it is tragic but I highly doubt the cops had anything to do with her suicide.

Yes, pretty much all of it. But don’t feel badly most would get the same take without fully understanding Police procedure and the Penal Code.

By the way for some of you younger guys seeing this. Keep in mind that when you get pulled over for a traffic ticket it is always helpful to comply with the Officers requests. The problem being that you never know the temperament of the officer you are screwing with. Most are good and just want to do their jobs and go home. But occasionally you will mouth off to the wrong cop at the wrong time. (I am not saying that the above Cop was in the wrong)

But being lippy, blowing smoke in the cops face etc. won’t help you in any way if you have a cop who isn’t going to put up with your bullshit. I know there are plenty of Internet experts who know the law and feel that they can mouth off and do what they like. But, keep in mind at that particular moment you are under the power of the state. That Police officer can call one, two or a hundred other officers to back him up. And you might be left sitting in a jail cell all busted up talking to yourself about how your rights were violated.

We don’t live in a perfect world and we never will. Good manners and being polite to everyone, especially someone in authority is just the smart thing to do.
[/quote]

This. Rules and laws have been set into place to protect us from each other, ourselves, and sometimes even from those enforcing the law.
Sure, there have been, and are, corrupt police, but that doesn’t give us the right to pick and choose when or what laws we want to obey.
Maybe the police should start picking and choosing which civilians they want to serve and protect.

You put a fence up around your yard so the dog doesn’t run into the street, get hit by a car, and die. You don’t put a fence up because you hate the dog.


#10

[quote]blackchucks wrote:

[quote]ZEB wrote:

[quote]Gkhan wrote:
Then he wants her to get out of the car without telling her why.[/quote]

He doesn’t have to tell her why.

Resisting arrest.

A Police Officer does not have to tell you why you are being arrested on the scene.

Apparently something happened that was not audible on this video.

Why? Maybe he smelled an illegal substance. Perhaps he saw something in the car that didn’t seem right. An officer does not have to hand you a ticket and allow you to be on your merry way if he recognizes that another law has been broken.

Let’s say that he does not have a great demeanor when it comes to dealing with loud mouths. But, then again loud mouth behavior can be interpreted as threatening, abusive and she certainly did not comply with a lawful order of a police officer which in and of itself is a crime.

Yes, we need more of them.

Of course the defense says “no way” this could be worth millions to the family. Ask yourself this, why would a police officer open the cell and hang the defendant? Who in their right mind would do such a thing? Because she was abusive? They deal with abusive people of all colors every day. I bet if you check her history she was probably on meds for depression or some other mental illness. Obviously, it is tragic but I highly doubt the cops had anything to do with her suicide.

Yes, pretty much all of it. But don’t feel badly most would get the same take without fully understanding Police procedure and the Penal Code.

By the way for some of you younger guys seeing this. Keep in mind that when you get pulled over for a traffic ticket it is always helpful to comply with the Officers requests. The problem being that you never know the temperament of the officer you are screwing with. Most are good and just want to do their jobs and go home. But occasionally you will mouth off to the wrong cop at the wrong time. (I am not saying that the above Cop was in the wrong)

But being lippy, blowing smoke in the cops face etc. won’t help you in any way if you have a cop who isn’t going to put up with your bullshit. I know there are plenty of Internet experts who know the law and feel that they can mouth off and do what they like. But, keep in mind at that particular moment you are under the power of the state. That Police officer can call one, two or a hundred other officers to back him up. And you might be left sitting in a jail cell all busted up talking to yourself about how your rights were violated.

We don’t live in a perfect world and we never will. Good manners and being polite to everyone, especially someone in authority is just the smart thing to do.
[/quote]

This. Rules and laws have been set into place to protect us from each other, ourselves, and sometimes even from those enforcing the law.
Sure, there have been, and are, corrupt police, but that doesn’t give us the right to pick and choose when or what laws we want to obey.
Maybe the police should start picking and choosing which civilians they want to serve and protect.

You put a fence up around your yard so the dog doesn’t run into the street, get hit by a car, and die. You don’t put a fence up because you hate the dog.
[/quote]

Bullshit. He got mad and went on a power trip because she was smoking in her own car and he decided displaying his authority was more important than serving the public. The first one to start being aggressive and unreasonable was the cop. He is on administrative leave for violating the departments procedures with his conduct as admission of this.

Not only should he not have asked to put the cigarette out, if what the woman says is correct (and I don’t see the rest of the video, no surprise) she should never have been pulled over. It sounds like the cop illegally tailgated her until she got over and then pulled her over for what everyone knows is a BS reason. Once the cop told her he was arresting her (for no apparent reason) she should have complied, but the conflict happened entirely because of the unprofessional conduct of the cop.


#11

[quote]Bullshit. He got mad and went on a power trip because she was smoking in her own car and he decided displaying his authority was more important than serving the public. The first one to start being aggressive and unreasonable was the cop. He is on administrative leave for violating the departments procedures with his conduct as admission of this.

Not only should he not have asked to put the cigarette out, if what the woman says is correct (and they i don’t see the rest of the video) she should never have been pulled over. It sounds like the cop illegally tailgated her until she got over and then pulled her over for what everyone knows is a BS reason. While once the cop told her he was arresting her (for no apparent reason) she should have complied, the conflict happened entirely because of the unprofessional conduct of the cop.[/quote]

I completely agree with you in saying he was on a power trip. Absolutely.
But when a cop is following me, I use my turn signal. When a cop asks me to stop smoking, I stop smoking.
I’ve been “illegally” pulled over and “illegally” searched by a K9 unit. Was I upset, sure, but I sat there and let them do what they felt they had to do, while most certainly on a power trip of their own. And guess what, I said yes sir and didn’t end up in jail.
Is Sandy’s death unfortunate, absolutely, and I don’t mean to down play that at all.


#12

At the minimum it is clear that this guy doesn?t have the patience or temperament to be a cop. At worse, it sounds like from the tailgating, to the pulling her over, to the ordering her cigarette put out, to the asking why she was upset, he was looking for a confrontation and was attempting to set the woman off. Either way, he needs his ass fired at least.


#13

[quote]Gkhan wrote:
Zeb, did you watch the video? He hands her the warning, asks her if there is anything wrong which is none of his business,[/quote]

Actually, an officer certainly has a right to ask of the accused party “is there anything wrong”? Very legitimate question IF he believes that there is something wrong.

He can tell her to put out the cigarette depending on the circumstances.

I understand that. But, I am guessing that you and I did not hear or see everything that the officer saw and heard. Not a bad assumption given that we are seeing a taped scene from a distance.

He may have arrested her for something unrelated. As I said it is difficult for us to see and hear what the officer is seeing and hearing. It’s only a tape from a distance.

If a Police Officer asks you to step out of the car there is a reason. I will say it again, he may have seen or heard something that you and I are not privy to at the distance this was filmed.

Yes, she displayed quite an attitude. So, its not an unreasonable assumption to believe that she had that same attitude while in the car and said, or did/said something which caused the officer to ask her to exit said car. For example, if an officer pulls someone over and is talking to them through an open window and the defendant says to the officer “I am going to kill you” or, “I have a gun under the seat.” or, “fuck you pig” all of those things are offenses in which the officer will most likely ask the person to step out of the car. It can range from simple harassment to disorderly conduct to actually threatening the life of a Police Officer. We simply do not know what she said, or did, or what he saw at this time.

First of all as I said above, we don’t know what the offense was. If it was something verbal then there is no physical evidence. Also, they don’t have to release any details. And departments (especially lately) will wait not wanting to give anymore ammunition to their accusers. In other words, they will only release what they have to release to the public. On the other hand, they may with hold information from the press and simply give the rest of the information to the accusers through a subpoena.

One of the problems when viewing such a tape is that people tend to jump to conclusions. They assume things that may or may not be true. In addition to that even if the observer, such as yourself, is well meaning they do not understand the law, the officers authority and other finite details that would change the outcome.

One good example, is an old case from the 90’s. You may have heard of it, the Rodney King beating. The tape showed officers beating a seemingly defenseless Rodney King while he lay helpless on the ground. Well that certainly looks bad for the cops right? But what the (liberal) media did not show us was the start of the tape when minutes before a 6’4" 260 pound Rodney King was wrecking the two cops (or were there more?) that were trying to apprehend him. He was in fact resisting arrest and moreover assaulting the officers at the scene. In short he was winning in a big way! It took several officers to restrain him. They knocked him down but he got back up a few times to fight even harder. If I remember correctly he was pretty drugged up which further added to his powers to resist, along with his size.

So, video’s are a double edged sword when it comes to ultimately determining who is in the right. They can certainly give a sense of what happened as in a chronological order of events, but after that sometimes not a lot of help. In the case above it would have been more helpful to have a video and audio in the defendants car. That is obviously not an option. But, without that we are only able to hear bits and pieces of what she said and not see anything that was in the car.

As you stated when she exited the car she was quite a handful of profanity and resisting. That much we know. Now was she a polite citizen and totally compliant while she was in the car, I doubt it but sure it’s possible.

As I said as far as the hanging goes it has been my experience that all a cop wants to do after his shift is go home to his family. Why any police officer would hide out and wait unseen for the perfect opportunity to hang a defendant and commit murder makes no sense. If caught he would not only lose his pension (cops like their pensions) but serve perhaps a lifetime in jail (cops never want to go to jail for obvious reasons). And he did this simply because the person he arrested gave them some lip is ridiculous. Virtually every person arrested gives the officer lip. Last time I checked not one of them were hanged by the officer.

This woman was walking around or in this case driving around not completely in her right mind. It’s certainly tragic but in no way was the officer or department behind her hanging in my opinion. There is simply not enough motive.


#14

[quote]blackchucks wrote:

[quote]Bullshit. He got mad and went on a power trip because she was smoking in her own car and he decided displaying his authority was more important than serving the public. The first one to start being aggressive and unreasonable was the cop. He is on administrative leave for violating the departments procedures with his conduct as admission of this.

Not only should he not have asked to put the cigarette out, if what the woman says is correct (and they i don’t see the rest of the video) she should never have been pulled over. It sounds like the cop illegally tailgated her until she got over and then pulled her over for what everyone knows is a BS reason. While once the cop told her he was arresting her (for no apparent reason) she should have complied, the conflict happened entirely because of the unprofessional conduct of the cop.[/quote]

I completely agree with you in saying he was on a power trip. Absolutely.
But when a cop is following me, I use my turn signal. When a cop asks me to stop smoking, I stop smoking.
I’ve been “illegally” pulled over and “illegally” searched by a K9 unit. Was I upset, sure, but I sat there and let them do what they felt they had to do, while most certainly on a power trip of their own. And guess what, I said yes sir and didn’t end up in jail.
Is Sandy’s death unfortunate, absolutely, and I don’t mean to down play that at all.
[/quote]

While I agree with your sentiment that your best move is to be polite. What this video proves yet again is that a cop can pull you over and ruin you life in less than a minute just because he wants to. What bothers me about it is that it shows the kind of power they have over you and there is not a damn thing you can do about it.
So yeah, you best bet is to not make a policeman mad. But they also should not be able to ruin your life because they don’t like your attitude when they hand you what amounts to an additional road tax. That’s my problem.


#15

[quote]ZEB wrote:
If a Police Officer asks you to step out of the car there is a reason. I will say it again, he may have seen or heard something that you and I are not privy to at the distance this was filmed.

One good example, is an old case from the 90’s. You may have heard of it, the Rodney King beating. The tape showed officers beating a seemingly defenseless Rodney King while he lay helpless on the ground. Well that certainly looks bad for the cops right? But what the (liberal) media did not show us was the start of the tape when minutes before a 6’4" 260 pound Rodney King was wrecking the two cops (or were there more?) that were trying to apprehend him. He was in fact resisting arrest and moreover assaulting the officers at the scene. In short he was winning in a big way! It took several officers to restrain him. They knocked him down but he got back up a few times to fight even harder. If I remember correctly he was pretty drugged up which further added to his powers to resist, along with his size.

[/quote]

No, if a cop asks you to step out he SHOULD have a good reason. If he did, Iâ??m sure they would have told the media before now.

The cops in the Rodney King incident did beat a helpless, subdued, half conscious man severely. The fact that it was them getting revenge for the start of the confrontation doesn’t justify a whole lot. Whether he deserved a beating or not, we do NOT live in a Judge Dread society where cops get to sentence and carry out sentences. They all should have gone to jail.


#16

[quote]pat wrote:
What this video proves yet again is that a cop can pull you over and ruin you life in less than a minute just because he wants to.[/quote]

Not necessarily true. It takes two to dance and it usually takes two to “ruin your life” from a v&t stop.

Yep, and they’ve had this power for decades in fact even longer. And over all I’d say they’ve done a great job at serving and protecting. There will always be some bad apples I don’t think the above video proves that this officer is a bad apple. In fat, since the video age if anything police officers have gotten even better for obvious reasons.

I can feel your frustration. But keep in mind there must be laws and people hired to enforce those laws. We have an imperfect system with imperfect police officers. Also, keep in mind you will rarely if ever see a video where a Police officer goes out of his way to help someone, or to be kind. But far more of that type of behavior takes place on a daily basis than abusive cops. What is it they say? “No news is good news” Which implies that the only news you will see, hear and read is bad.

Take it all with a grain of salt my friend.


#17

[quote]DoubleDuce wrote:

No, if a cop asks you to step out he SHOULD have a good reason. [/quote]

We are in agreement. What you and I don’t know is if he had a good reason. From what you can see, hear and know it seems he didn’t so you think we have an abusive cop on our hands. But what I need to know before I make that determination is what did the woman say or do, and what did the Officer see and know at the time. When those questions are answered, if they can be, then we will be more able to make a fair determination.

Perhaps, perhaps not. It depends on the legal challenge from the deceased defendants family. They are possibly in protect mode which means things will come out slowly or not at all until a trial. The family is no doubt seeking millions damages. So, the City will need to play this close to the vest. Keep in mind whether the cop was right or wrong municipalities have a methodology on how to handle such suits.

Perspective is a strange thing. When we only see half, or part of a video and then make a determination on that we walk away with a certain perception that might just be wrong. We walk away knowing half or less than half of what really happened.

I know you realize that in order for a legal judgment to be made juries go over volumes of evidence and testimony sometimes for weeks on end. Looking at a 2 min video and deciding who is right and who is wrong is fun Internet play. But it has no place in actually deciding who is guilty and who is not!

Many thought that there would be a conviction handed down by the GJ in the recent case of the Cop shooting the black man who apparently tried to take his gun. But alas in this case not only did the local GJ not want to indict, but the Justice Department under racist Eric Holder didn’t indict either.

Take a deep breath I have found that in cases like this most times the guilty are discovered and justice is served. But it’s never served with a video over the Internet.


#18

Ok, Zeb, I am in agreement with a couple of things you said, I talked to an attorney and he confirmed yes an officer can order you to get out of your car and yes you should comply.

When she refused, was that enough to arrest her? And on what grounds? You said there might have been something he suspected was not right. I guess that’s enough to arrest someone.

Like I said, according to the police report the cop arrested her for resisting arrest, stating she kicked and pushed him. Yet if you listen to the video, the fight took place AFTER she was arrested.

It came out she had marijuana in her system, so quite possibly he may have smelled it. The problem is: he never stated why he wanted her to exit the vehicle, why he arrested her BEFORE she fought, kicked and pushed him as was claimed in the police report.

Possibly if he had explained this the situation may have deescalated…though I highly doubt it due to her actions, but still it would be less of a mystery, since the police investigating the incident are not forthcoming.


#19

I think I read somewhere on the internet or in a book somewhere that a police officer needs probable cause to search and arrest someone. Probably not relevant though.


#20

[quote]Gkhan wrote:
Ok, Zeb, I am in agreement with a couple of things you said, I talked to an attorney and he confirmed yes an officer can order you to get out of your car and yes you should comply.

When she refused, was that enough to arrest her? And on what grounds?[/quote]

Failure to comply with a lawful order of a Police Officer. This is a misdemeanor in most states.

As I said above “failure to comply” is enough for the arrest to take place. The question is, did he see something in the car? Did she say something that we could not hear? Did she possibly give him the finger and we could not see it (a cheap arrest in my opinion but nonetheless illegal). But, when she refused to exit the car she broke the law [again]

Yes, I agree that was easy to see. It’s what she did BEFORE he asked her to exit the car that arouses my curiosity.

Ahha…there you go. If a Police Officer see’s, smells, or has reasonable suspicion that there is pot in the car or (obviously) in the persons system then absolutely he can order the individual out of the vehicle (in most states). If he, or in this case she resists we now have “failure to comply with the lawful order of a police officer”. Then she fights him while screaming profanity’s we have “resisting arrest” and possibly “disorderly conduct”. As you can see the charges add up quickly.

You have committed a common error.

Most people think that a police officer must first tell someone why they are being arrested and this is simply not the case. I think most believe this because of all the police shows “hold it you’re under arrest for…” But in reality the officer never has to tell the person on the scene why they are being arrested. So, the cop was in the right.

It could have possibly been handled differently. But then again the Police Officer has apparently done his job and did so by the book.

As for the police not being forthcoming as I said in a previous post they are most likely now in defensive mode due to the impending lawsuit which if not handled properly from the start by the municipality could cost them millions.

There are bad cops to be sure. But, from what I have seen in my lifetime they are very few and far between.