The family of Sandra Bland — who died in a Waller County jail cell — is calling for a re-opening of the criminal investigation into Bland's arrest and death after seeing footage for the first time.
WALLER COUNTY, Texas — New cellphone footage from the now infamous traffic stop of Sandra Bland shows her perspective when a Texas state trooper points a Taser and yells, “I will light you up!”
Bland, 28, was found dead three days later in her Waller County jail cell near Houston. Her death was ruled a suicide.
The new video — released as part of a WFAA exclusive in partnership with the Investigative Network — fuels the Bland family’s suspicions that Texas officials withheld evidence in her controversial arrest and, later, her death.
Until now, the trooper’s dashcam footage was believed to be the only full recording of the July 2015 traffic stop, which ended in Bland’s arrest. The trooper claimed he feared for his safety during the stop.
The 39-second cellphone video shot by Bland remained in the hands of investigators until the Investigative Network obtained the video once the criminal investigation closed.
Bland’s family said they never saw the video before and now call for Texas officials to re-examine the criminal case against the trooper who arrested Bland, which sparked outrage across the country.
“Open up the case, period,” Bland’s sister Shante Needham said when shown the video.
Needham and other Bland family members believe the video was intentionally withheld.
“We also know they have an extremely, extremely good cover-up system,” Needham said.
Texas Department of Public Safety officials declined an on-camera interview but said the video was not withheld.
“The premise that the video was not produced as a part of the discovery process is wrong,” DPS said in a statement. “A hard drive containing copies of 820 Gigabytes of data compiled by DPS from its investigation, including the dashcam videos, jail video footage and data from Sandra Bland’s cell phone, was part of discovery.”