Despite newly surfaced video evidence from Sandra Bland‘s point of view during her ill-fated 2015 arrest, Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis has no desire to re-open her case.
“Five special prosecutors were appointed to consider the evidence. The grand jury was diligent and considering the facts and circumstances considering the arrest and her subsequent death of Ms. Bland. I have no knowledge at this time of new evidence to second guess the work of those five prosecutors or the grand jury.”
The video, cellphone footage from Bland’s phone on the day of the July 2015 arrest was released to the public after being obtained by WFAA. Her sister demanded that her case be re-opened in light of the evidence surfacing.
“Open up the case, period,” Bland’s sister Shante Needham said when reporter Brian Collister showed her the video.
On Tuesday, investigators and special prosecutor Darrell Jordan pushed back on that notion, saying Bland’s cellphone video was considered during the original investigation. The lawyer for Brian Encinia, the arresting officer in the case said that Bland’s cellphone was given back to her family years ago.
“It was part of the evidence that was considered since day one,” Encinia’s attorney Chip Lewis said. “It actually goes towards the defense I put forth that he did what he was required to do under the law and his training which was remove her from the potential threat.”
Encinia was indicted for perjury. However, the charge was dropped in exchange for him never working in law enforcement again.
Texas DPS also released a statement about Bland’s cellphone video:
“The cellphone recording is referenced by Ms. Bland in the dash cam video that was released by the department on July 22, 2015. The video recording from Ms. Bland’s cellphone was specifically identified multiple times in the Ranger Report of Investigation. The Ranger report was made available to all the litigants during the civil litigation filed by her family. At all times, the department complied with its discovery obligations in the civil litigation.
“Additionally, the video from Ms. Bland’s cellphone has been treated as public information and made available upon request (see attached). Brian Collister, the reporter who describes the video as “newly discovered,” filed a public information request back in August 2017. Mr. Collister specifically requested the video from Ms. Bland’s cellphone, and the department provided the video to Mr. Collister at that time. Again, we reiterate that the video is not newly discovered and has in no way been concealed by the department.”