Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Arrested For Being An "Uppity Negro"
Sandra Bland was wrongfully arrested for being an Uppity Negro(tm). The dash cam video proves this beyond any doubt whatsoever: [This link is broken] You need to watch the video from the beginning because it is instructive on what was going on in the mind of the officer. The footage starts with him giving a "friendly" warning to a driver he had pulled over. Apparently that person did not have their insurance on them. He's friendly to the driver. It is apparent, later that he EXPECTS that people he pulls over should all be happy about being pulled over. After giving the warning to the driver he pulls a U-turn and heads up the road. He runs up on Sandra's car, which is in the left lane. Sandra seeing the police car running up behind her quickly pulls into the right lane to let the officer pass. She does so without using her signal. A reasonable officer (or any other person for that matter) would have seen the courtesy given to them and moved to pass the slower moving vehicle. This cop uses that courtesy as a pretext to stop Sandra on a technicality. Let me be clear here, under law the officer has a right to pull Sandra over for non indicating a lane change. However, they have discretion as to the enforcement of such an infraction. I would suggest that because Bland had out of state plates, the officer decided to use his "discretion" to "investigate" an out of stater. It happens in parts of Texas often. I will also point out that Bland pulled over immediately which indicates that she was cooperative. Cooperative does not mean "happy to be in the situation". The officer approaches the passenger side of the vehicle (standard procedure) asks for Sandra's documents and asks her if she's OK. Now personally I think the officer was being an ass for asking the person he just inconvenienced whether they are OK. BUt maybe in that part of Texas he expects people to be OK with that. She doesn't say much. He returns to his vehicle to run the plates and whatever else police do in such situations. When he returns to Sandra's vehicle, this time at the driver's side, he asks again if she's OK. She says she isn't and he asks why and she tells him that she didn't appreciate being pulled over after moving over to let him pass. That is reasonable. At that point the entire attitude of the police officer changes and he steps outside the law. It is not resisting an officer to tell him why you're bothered by a stop, particularly after that officer just asked for that information. The old rule applies: don't ask questions you don't want the answers to. Then the officer goes further into abuse of power by telling Sandra to put out her cigarette. Why? What did her smoking have to do with being given a ticket for changing lanes? Sandra was absolutely right to question him on that. When he then takes her refusal to comply with what is CLEARLY an UNLAWFUL order, he orders her out of the vehicle. Although an officer can order a person out of a vehicle, it must be under probable cause. He has none. You cannot give a lawful order to enforce a previous UNLAWFUL order. The officer tries to tell Bland that he was going to do her a favor by giving her a warning. This goes back to the stop at the top of the video. He expects everyone to smile and be thankful that he's only wasted his time demonstrating his authority. This is why I say that it is clear that Bland was arrested for being an "Uppity Negro". Once Bland answered his question as to why she was upset he should have given her the ticket and gone about his business and he knows this. Everything that happened after that was because he was personally offended. This was not law enforcement this was ego enforcement. At this point I cannot say beyond reasonable doubt whether Bland was murdered in the jail cell, but I can say for certain that had the officer at the initial point of contact acted in a professional manner that Bland would be alive today.