CHICAGO (CBS) — A hearing about cell phone video shot by Sandra Bland herself turned combative Friday when Texas lawmakers butted heads with law enforcement officials on how, or even if, authorities turned over that video as evidence.
“We’ve been absolutely transparent this entire process,” said Texas Public Safety Director Steve McCraw. “If for some reason you didn’t get it I apologize for that. I’ll apologize that you didn’t understand it because you did get it.”
He didn’t budge when he was grilled about how he handled the cell phone video Bland shot during her 2015 traffic stop.
That 39-second video surfaced just weeks ago and shows the exchange with then Texas State Trooper Brian Encinia as Bland likely saw it.
“The video that she recorded during the traffic stop on July 10, 2015, was provided to counsel from Miss Bland’s family by attorney’s representing Waller County,” said Phillip Adkins, general counsel with the Texas Department of Public Safety.
But lawmakers continued their grilling — one stating the Bland family attorney had no clue the cell phone video even existed.
Bland, 28, was arrested during that traffic stop and found hanged in her jail cell three days later.
At the time Encinia claimed he had ordered Bland out of her car because he feared for his safety. Dash camera video of the stop later raised questions about his story. Bland’s video shows her challenging Encinia but not threatening him.
Bland’s mom also attended the hearing, listening as lawmakers suggested public safety authorities intentionally buried Bland’s video in a thumb drive data dump.
Encinia was initially charged with perjury for his official account of what happened, but that charge was later dropped when he agreed to turn in his badge.