After Texas authorities released a video Tuesday of the traffic stop that occurred three days before the driver, Sandra Bland, was found dead in a county jail, questions have arisen about whether the video had been edited.
“The video was not edited,” spokesman Tom Vinger told The Washington Post. “There was a technical issue during upload.”
Vinger said the agency is working to correct the issue and will release a new version of the recording. Asked whether he believed that the audio might have been affected, Vinger said, “It sounds to me that the audio was not affected.”
The issues were most pronounced in a portion of the video where trooper Brian Encinia can be heard speaking to someone on the phone about the incident.
At one point, Encinia explains that he was trying to “de-escalate” the situation. In the video, a tow truck operator is seen walking out of the frame of the video, then that portion of the video repeats itself.
“I just stepped back in the car and said, ‘Are you done, ma’am? I need to tell you why and what I’m giving you,’ ” Encinia is heard saying as the video skips. “And it just kept on going.”
In other cases, cars can be seen disappearing in the video, which repeats itself.
The incidents were documented online by journalist Ben Norton, whose observations were highlighted by Ava DuVernay, director of the Oscar-winning film “Selma.”
Bland — a 28-year-old African American woman — was stopped in Texas on July 10 for failing to signal while changing lanes, but the routine traffic stop turned confrontational after Encinia ordered her to put out her cigarette.
Encinia threatened Bland with a Taser when he ordered her out of her vehicle, then arrested her after she “began swinging her elbows at me and then kicked my right leg in the shin,” he wrote in an arrest warrant.
In a phone conversation with his Sargent, which was recorded on the dashboard camera video, Encinia appears to contradict his statements in the warrant.
“She never swung at me,” he said in the recording. “She was just flailing,
“I don’t have a serious bodily injury, but I was kicked,” he added.
Bland was charged with assault on a public servant then booked in the Waller County Jail, where she died July 13.
Her death was classified as suicide by hanging, but news of the suicide — which came amid growing outrage over police interactions with African Americans — has been met with skepticism by those who knew Bland and even others who didn’t.
The Texas State Rangers have launched an investigation into Bland’s death, with the supervision of the FBI. As of Wednesday morning, neither the FBI nor any other division within the Department of Justice has opened a separate federal investigation into the case.
After the police video’s release, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) called on the Justice Department to investigate Bland’s death.
Encinia was placed on administrative duty on Friday pending the outcome of the investigation, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety, which said that the officer violated the agency’s procedures during the traffic stop.
The dashcam video of the traffic stop was released Tuesday evening.
After questions about the video multiplied overnight, Vinger released a statement from the Texas Department of Public Safety:
The video has not been edited. To eliminate any concerns as to the efficacy of the video DPS previously requested the FBI examine the dash cam and jail video to ensure the integrity of the video. The entire video was uploaded to include the audio and video of the conversation the trooper had by telephone with his sergeant, which occurred after the arrest. Some of the video that occurred during this conversation was affected in the upload and is being addressed. We are working to repost the dash cam video.