Attorney for family of Sandra Bland: She "wasn't comfortable getting out of the car" for the officer

"It was a routine traffic stop," he said, "she shouldn't have even had to"


Scott Eric Kaufman
July 20, 2015 10:26PM (UTC)

At a news conference this afternoon, supporters of Sandra Bland -- who died in a Waller County jail cell three days after being arrested -- called on Attorney General Loretta Lynch and the Department of Justice to open a formal investigation into her death because of the county's "questionable history when it comes to race."

Rev. Jamal Harrison Bryant said that "we are not satisfied with the explanation that she committed suicide," in part because he had evidence that local law enforcement officials -- from the officers who arrested her to the sheriff to the district attorney -- are a closely knit confraternity. He also claimed that the arresting officer, Brian Encinia, was supposed to be on desk duty at the time of her arrest, which should have rendered it illegal.

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A Bland family lawyer, Cannon Lambert, told NBC News today that he had seen the dashcam video of the arrest. Apparently, after Encinia ran her license and registration, he asked her to extinguish her cigarette.

"Why do I have to put out a cigarette when I'm in my own car?" she protested, at which point he demanded she exit the vehicle. Lambert said that Bland "wasn't comfortable getting out of the car," and the trooper "looked to force her to get out of the car by way of opening the door and started demanding that she do."

There was "no clear understanding why she had to get out of the car in the first place," he added. "It was a routine traffic stop."

Watch a report on the news conference below via ABC News.


Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at skaufman@salon.com.

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Cannon Lambert Police Brutality Rev. Jamal Harrison Bryant Sandra Bland Texas Video




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