A 52-minute video of the arrest of Sandra Bland, who died mysteriously in jail several days later, was released by the Texas Department of Public Safety on Tuesday night. After a few hours, reports began to surface that the video appeared doctored—and not particularly well, for that matter.
At 25:05, a man gets out of a truck and walks towards the camera. At 25:18, the man reappears out of nowhere, his image fluttering a bit before he repeats his walk towards the camera. The audio continues uninterrupted.
At 32:37, a white car drives into frame and then completely disappears. A few seconds later the same car comes back into frame from the same direction, and turns left. Another white car comes into frame and turns left. This footage is looped several times; for example, at 33:04, what appears to be the same car flickers and disappears. Then the same thing happens: it comes back into frame from the same direction, and turns left, followed by the second white car turning left again. Throughout, the audio continues without a hitch.
Oscar-winning director Ava DuVernay helped bring attention (and professional expertise) to the discrepancies last night, first noticed by journalist Ben Norton:
As this was emerging on Tuesday evening, family members held a packed memorial service for Sandra Bland at the Johnson Phillip All Faiths Church on Prairie View A&M’s campus.
“I have a baby to put in the ground,” Bland’s mother, Geneva Reed-Veal, told the crowd. “She wasn’t my convict, she wasn’t my suspect—she was my baby.” In closing, she said, “I’m ready ... This means war.”
At a press conference on Tuesday, Texas State Sen. Royce West said, “Once you see what occurred, you would probably agree with me that [Bland] shouldn’t have been taken into custody.” The officer who stopped Bland, Texas Department of Public Safety trooper Brian Encinia, has been placed on administrative leave.
The Texas Department of Safety told Time this morning that “an error uploading the video had affected parts of the footage and a new version would be released.”
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