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Sandra Bland Was Combative During Traffic Stop, Arrest Report Says

Callie Richmond
Texas Tribune
Jamal Bryant, a Baltimore pastor with the Empowerment Temple AME Church, addresses the press with new information about video footage of Sandra Bland's arrest.

PRAIRIE VIEW — The Texas Department of Public Safety trooper who arrested Sandra Bland said she became “combative” with him after he pulled her over for an improper lane change, according to the arrest report released Tuesday.

“Bland began swinging her elbows at me and then kicked my right leg in the shin,” the arresting officer, Brian Encinia, wrote in the report. “I had a pain in my right leg and suffered small cuts on my right hand. Force was used to subdue Bland to the ground to which Bland continued to fight back."

Bland, 28, was found hanged to death inside the Waller County jail, three days after she was arrested and taken to the jail on a charge of assaulting a public servant during the traffic stop.

Last week, DPS reassigned Encinia to desk duties because his dashboard camera video revealed violations of traffic stop procedures. Since a bystander video of part of Bland's arrest surfaced last week, several Texas lawmakers have urged the agency to release the video fromthe dashboard camera.

The probe into Bland's death — which the Harris County medical examiner ruled a suicide last week — now includes the possibility of murder.

"This is being treated like a murder investigation," Elton Mathis, Waller County's district attorney, said Monday at a news conference. 

After viewing the video, Mathis said Bland was not "compliant" with Encinia's directions.

"Sandra Bland was very combative. It was not a model traffic stop. It was not a model person that was stopped," Mathis said.

A Baltimore pastor who also saw the dashboard camera video said it does not show Bland attacking the officer.

"There is not one shot, not one scene of where Ms. Bland ever assaulted police," the Rev. Jamal Bryant, one of several activists who have come to Waller County in the aftermath of Bland's death, said Monday. 

Multiple agencies, including the Texas Rangers and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, have announced investigations into Bland's death. 

Bland's autopsy has been completed but the report has not been finished and was not available midday Tuesday. Last week the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences, which typically does autopsies for Waller County, ruled Bland's death a suicide by hanging.

The Texas Tribune provided this story.