Dashcam Video of Violent Arrest of Sandra Bland Was Edited

UPDATE, 22 July (2:44 PM EST):

The Texas Department of Public Safety uploaded a new video of the Sandra Bland arrest. This second video, at 49:11, is 3:01 shorter than the former footage, which was 52:12 in length.

UPDATE, 22 July (10:49 AM EST):

On the evening of 21 July, I contacted the Texas Department of Public Safety with a request for comment. They did not reply.

NBC News contacted the department, which said it is going to investigate the alleged edits of the Sandra Bland video.

A reporter from the Texas Tribune also contacted the department.

They told the Texas Tribune that the video has not been edited. This seems unlikely. It is possible parts of the repeated footage are encoding errors, but it is unlikely that the 15-second repeated clip of a man leaving the truck is an encoding error.

Others have also noted that police dashcam videos usually have timecode on the footage. In this video, the timecode do not appear. Why this is is unclear. There is no answer at this point and an investigation needs to be conducted. A possibility some have suggested, however, is that, if the footage was indeed edited, as it likely was, whoever edited it zoomed in on the video or cropped the timecode.

ORIGINAL, 21 July (9:59 PM EST):

The dashcam video released to the public of the violent arrest of Sandra Bland appears to be edited.

Bland was a 28-year-old Black Lives Matter civil rights activist and vocal critic of police brutality who died in police custody after a Texas officer pulled her over for a traffic violation, ordered her out of her car when she refused to put out her cigarette, and aggressively arrested her. Police say Bland committed suicide, yet the Waller County prosecutor says Bland’s case is “being treated just as it would be a murder investigation.”

The Texas Department of Public Safety uploaded dashcam police video of the arrest to YouTube on 21 July. Parts of the approximately 52 minutes of footage it uploaded appear to have been doctored.

A man leaves the truck in the center of the frame at 25:05. For the next 15 seconds, he walks toward the right of the frame and leaves. At 25:19, he suddenly appears again, promptly disappears, then returns at 25:22. The same footage of him walking is subsequently repeated.

The following video consists of 25:01-25:32 in the footage released by the Texas Department of Public Safety:

This is not the only part of the video that was edited.

At 32:37, a white car drives into the left side of the frame, then promptly disappears in the middle of the road. Seconds later, the same car drives back into the frame and subsequently turns left. This footage is later looped several times.

A different white car also drives into the left side of the frame and turns left from 32:49 to 32:59. The previous white car again briefly enters the frame at 33:04, and once more at 33:06, yet it suddenly disappears both times. When these cuts are made in the footage, the lights on top of the truck in the center of the frame also abruptly cut out.

At 33:08, the exact same footage from 32:37 is repeated, followed by the same second white car at 33:17.

The following video consists of 33:02-33:12 in the footage released by the Texas Department of Public Safety:

The same happens from 33:50-34:12, which can be seen in the following video:

Similar edits and loops are made throughout the video.

It appears that someone cut footage out and looped part of the video in order to correspond with the recorded audio of Texas state trooper Brian Encinia speaking. Who exactly edited the footage is unknown, but the video was recorded by police and released by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

UPDATE, 21 July (11:50 PM EST):

Award-winning filmmaker Ava DuVernay also agrees that the video has been edited.


“I edit footage for a living. But anyone can see that this official video has been cut,” DuVernay wrote.