Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Brian Encina and Sandra Bland: Is It Any Wonder?

Here is a portion of the dash cam recording for Sandra Bland's arrest:
Officer Brian Encina (while writing ticket): You seem very irritated.
Sandra Bland: I am, I really am.....(something slightly unintelligible, about how she was just "getting out of your way")
Encina: Are you done?
Bland: You asked me what was wrong and I told you....
Encina: Mind putting out your cigarette please?
Bland: I'm in my car, why do I have to put out my cigarette?
Encina: You can step on out now.
Bland: I don't have to step out of my car.
Encina: Step out of the car....
Bland: You do not have the right....
Encina: Now step out or I will remove you...I'm giving you a lawful order get out of the car now or I'm gonna remove you...
Bland: I'm calling my lawyer.
Encina: I'm gonna yank you out of here....
Bland: Don't touch me, I'm not under arrest.
Encina: You are under arrest.
Bland: I'm under arrest for what ? For what?...
Encina: Get out of the car now!
Bland: Why am I being apprehended?
Encina: I'm gonna drag you out of there....I will light you up!
Bland: Wow...failure to signal, doing all this for failure to signal?
Encina: Get off the phone, put your phone down...right now.....
Bland: For a fucking failure to signal my goodness y'all are very interesting....feeling good about yourself don't you?....Why am I being arrested, why won't you tell me that part?.....
Encina: You are not compliant.
Bland: Not compliant cause you just pulled me out of my car....
Encina: If you would have just listened...stop moving!
Bland: I can't wait til we go to court...ooh I cant wait....You gonna throw me to the floor? Feel better about yourself?....
Encina: Now you're going to jail!...
Bland: You about to break my wrist....about to fucking break my wrists.....
Encina: You started creating the problems!...You are yanking around, when you pull away from me you're resisting arrest.....
Bland: For a traffic ticket...for a traffic ticket!....Gonna slam me, knock my head into the ground. I got epilepsy motherfucker...
Encina: Good, good.
A new female cop on scene: You should have thought about that before you start resisting.

When those bewigged, 18th century men who wrote the Bill of Rights wrote it, they were reacting to experience with officers of the Crown who acted imperiously, arrogantly, who demanded "respect" and exerted their will upon citizens. These officers were the face of subjugation for American folk who had to bow down, genuflect before the authority of these petty thugs, these school yard bullies, who may not have lived in palaces but who could strut about any community and exert their will over the Crown's "subjects."

How different is this police officer from that?  When freedom from "unreasonable search and seizure" was listed as something which defined what freedom meant for Americans, were they not thinking of police like Brian Encina and the "female cop" who joined him?

This reads like an out take from the movie, "Crash."  

Do you find yourself disagreeing with Sandra Bland?  She may not have played her role as the submissive, compliant citizen now under the power of the police who can order her to do whatever they like, but was she wrong in anything she said or did?

The policeman asserts he is giving her a "lawful order."  Who is a policeman to give an "order" to a citizen?  Neither is in the military.  Since when can a policeman start giving orders to citizens, outside a circumstance which encompasses a threat to public safety or a violation of law?  What law does she violate by refusing to step out of her car?  

She in fact asks the officer to state clearly what law she has violated and the charge for her arrest and he does not answer but shouts another order, "Get out of the car! I'm going to light you up!"  She says she wants to call a lawyer and he ignores that. 

Is there not a Constitutional requirement for a charge to be registered when someone is arrested? Do we not have the right to know what the charged offense is?  Is there something called "Habeus Corpus?"  (Well, not in Gitmo, of course, but then that's not actually a prison in America--it's just run by Americans. But I digress.)

Remember when George W. Bush responded to the Abu Gharib torture by saying, "This is not who we are" ? Well, maybe that was and is who we are. 

Oh, what sort of state do we live in now?

All those Second Amendment fanatics froth about the tyranny of having their guns muzzled. 

What about the tyranny of police gone wild? 


  1. Mad Dog,
    Thank God for dash cams and cell phone recordings-without them these crimes would go unnoticed-and these uniformed criminals would get away with their wrongdoing. It seems unclear, right now, how Sandra Bland died, but what is readily apparent is she should never have been in police custody to begin with. Your comparison of Officer Encina and those like him, to power hungry schoolyard bullies is a good one. Why wouldn't Ms. Bland have wanted to know why she had to step out of the car and why she was being arrested. Some might say she could have been more polite to the officer-but that's not a requirement-and he is supposedly the professional who should be trained to deal with people, who are less than polite, in an appropriate manner. The dash cam recording of this arrest shows there was nothing appropriate about it. Should an investigation show Sandra Bland did indeed take her own life, we are still left with the question what happened in that jail that could have led to such despair. If Encina and the other officer could behave the way they did during the arrest-out on a public street, it really begs the question what type of abuse may have gone on on behind the closed doors of the jail...

  2. Ms. Maud,

    The intriguing thing is the cop behaved this way knowing the dash cam was going and the dash cam was not destroyed even though the case did not come to attention for nearly a week, only after Ms. Bland died. So there may be some integrity in the system, if not on the street.

    Yes, if this is how these guys behave when they know they are being recorded, can you imagine what they are like in a jail without dash cams?

    Can you believe Ms. Bland wrapped a plastic bag around her neck and hanged herself? I realize we have just a keyhole view but listening to her on the tapes, she sounds intelligent, controlled, composed. She may have been strangled by a plastic bag but unless they come up with a long history of depression, I can't see anything but murder.
    We are talking about Texas, remember.

    Mad Dog