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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Sandra Bland: There's a telling contradiction in that jail cell video

I'm sure that most of you are now familiar with the story of Sandra Bland's strange encounter with the cops in Texas, and with the even stranger video edits that have been found in the dashcam record. Cars disappear and reappear, as if we were watching an early experimental film by Georges Méliès. The Texas Department of Public Safety says that the odd jumps were an uninentional product of the encoding process.


Jump cuts of this kind have never marred my own YouTube videos. Just last night, I watched an entire Hollywood classic which had been not-quite-legally uploaded to YouTube. All very glitch-free. In fact, in this household we watch YouTube videos nearly every single night, and I've yet to notice any unintended jump cuts created by the encoder.

A blogger named Ben Norton (to whom I have linked already) thinks that the Texas government's response has been incredibly fishy.
They told the Texas Tribune that the video has not been edited. This seems unlikely. It is possible parts of the repeated footage are encoding errors, but it is unlikely that the 15-second repeated clip of a man leaving the truck is an encoding error.

Others have also noted that police dashcam videos usually have timecodes on the footage. In this video, the timecodes do not appear. Why this is is unclear. There is no answer at this point and an investigation needs to be conducted. A possibility some have suggested, however, is that, if the footage was indeed edited, as it likely was, whoever edited it zoomed in on the video or cropped the timecodes.
YouTube does re-encode most videos, and quality suffers. But the process simply does not create jump cuts -- at least, not in my experience.

Even more troubling is the woman's alleged "suicide" in her cell.

I simply cannot believe that this committed and determined young woman committed suicide. Both the evidence and common sense indicate that the Waller Counter police are guilty of murdering a captive whom they discovered to be an anti-police activist.
Bland’s family and local activists have demanded an independent investigation, insisting that the young woman who was preparing to take a new job as a college outreach worker would not have ended her own life.

“This was not a suicide. This behind me was murder. All of America knows something is rotten,” the Rev. Jamal Bryant of Empowerment Temple in Baltimore said at a news conference in front of the Waller County Sheriff’s Department and jail.
We should question all reports of holding cell suicides. The only cases which I would consider credible would involve individuals accused of serious offenses, or individuals with histories of depression. Bland obviously did not belong in either of those categories.

Even more troubling than the dashcam footage is the surveillance camera video of the hallway leading to Bland's jail cell. There is a gap from 7:18 to 7:24 a.m. -- due, we are told, to the fact that the camera was motion-activated. However...
From 7:34 to 9:07 a.m., the video shows no movement in or out of cell 95.

Then, about 9:07 a.m., a female officer can be seen checking the window of cell 95 — and running for help.
A telling contradiction. If the camera was motion-activated, and if the video shows no movement -- then why is there video at all?

I see no time stamp. I question whether this hallway would be completely clear for more than an hour-and-a-half.

In any editing program (even the most basic), it would be child's play to create a cover-up by manipulating the video record. Less than a minute's worth of motionless footage can easily be stretched into 90 minutes of motionless footage. If a video clip shows no motion whatsoever, that clip can simply be looped. (If I were doing the job, I would cover the seams with a brief dissolve, just to make things extra-tidy.) A twelve-year-old with access to a duo-core computer could pull off this trick.

"Suicide cell" syndrome. For as long as I can recall, there have been unnerving cases of people who suddenly became suicidal in their holding cells. A few days ago, a young woman named Kindra Chapman died under mysterious circumstances while in custody in Alabama.

It would seem that our cops want to insure that America's underclass remains perpetually terrified of arrest, even in cases unlikely to result in conviction.

By the way: If you're curious, the aforementioned Hollywood classic was Gilda, which I had never seen before. A bit over-rated, perhaps, but well-directed and worth watching. Checkov's gun receives rather bizarre treatment, given the circumstances. Even by today's standards, that "zipper" line is kind
I think your speculation regarding the cops murdering someone they discovered to have been an anti-police violence/black lives matter activist seems likely to have been the cause here. The question now would be whether or not they knew she was coming their way and were looking for any reason to pull her over and take her into custody.

I know this sounds like a stretch, but remember we're facing a nascent full-spectrum intelligence apparatus that's tracking everyone's cell phones, email, financial transactions, ez-pass, etc. Totalitarian governments don't build systems like this unless they're planning on building files on and categorizing everyone.

We already know the NSA was feeding the DEA and local police departments intelligence regarding drug deals and the like with specific instructions to utilize "parallel construction" to hide the surveillance state fingerprints from the evidence trail, so is it that much of a stretch to extrapolate that behavior into this type of activity, as well?

If the corrupt police state is perfectly willing to lie and cheat to get convictions in the senseless drug war, then why wouldn't they resort to the same dirty tricks to silence and intimidate those who would oppose their abuses?
Essentially, the police are pirates now. Revenue-grubbing is their main job, and almost no one mentions the fact that Sandra Bland switched lanes in order to move OUT of the way of the police car, which was crowding her from behind. They pull this tactic ALL the time, so no, they were not originally targeting Sandra over anyone else. When I went to traffic court there were 3 or 4 others who recounted this same tactic so I pointed this out to the judge when it was my turn and she asked the officer what was an "illegal lane change?" He said there was nothing in front of me to warrant a lane change and I agreed, saying it was the police car BEHIND me that caused me to change lanes. She threw out my ticket.

The officer was needling Sandra as he wrote the ticket, asking if she was "irritated." She said yes, because she moved out of his way only to be pulled over. He wanted to rub it in, and maybe get her going, but she told him to just finish writing the ticket. Then he asked her to put out her cigarette and when she didn't he immediately escalated, telling her to get out of the car or he would "light her up."

This is happening everywhere. Why do we have people in JAIL for DAYS over traffic tickets?? Even if she did have a breakdown and commit suicide it is still death by police state. (Some friend of hers was supposed to come bail her out then just.....went radio silent. For days. No one has covered this yet as far as I know)

I don't have a TV so I missed the entire marijuana "angle" would she ingest that in jail?

Today in the Washington Post, someone finally covered the orchestrated arrest, starting with the police car rushing her from behind. Finally! And it was prominently featured below the the Style section.

Thanks for this, Joseph. The lack of the timeline on the video and your comments on the glitch help.

What bothers me most is the officer ASKED her to put out her cigarette. She said no. Now, if he really has a legitimate reason for wanting the cigarette, out, he now must explain the reason. THEN, if she refuses, he would be somewhat justified. To escalate from asking for something, hearing a no, to an automatic arrest is outrageous. I sincerely hope the officer involved dies, and dies soon, because his abominable actions led to the loss of life and in my opinion a malaise on society.
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