At 25 minutes and five seconds into the arrest video taken three days before Sandra Bland’s death in jail, a tow truck operator can be seen shutting his truck’s door and walking toward the police cruiser’s dashcam. At 25:16, he exits on the right side of the frame. Four seconds after that, the footage jump-cuts to the same scene: the door is suddenly open and the man materializes as if from thin air and begins his route toward the camera again. Throughout, the video’s audio continues uninterrupted. What’s going on here?
UPDATE: The Texas Department of Public Safety has pulled the original and replaced it with another, which does not contain the apparent edits or upload errors. The new video is below, with preserved clips of the edits/errors from the original further down.
The apparent edits were first spotted by journalist Ben Norton, who posted his findings to his blog. Here’s the eerie jump-cut described above, as shown in the Texas Department of Public Safety’s first video:
[There was a video here]
A representative of the Texas Department of Public Safety told Texas Tribune reporter T.L. Langford that the video was “not edited,” but that some of the video was “affected in the upload and is being addressed.”
Bland was stopped for allegedly failing to signal a lane change on Friday, July 10, and died in her cell at Waller County Jail on Monday, July 13. Officials have said that Bland died by hanging herself in her cell, but Bland’s family believes that she was killed. Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said this week that his office will handle the case as thoroughly “as it would be in a murder investigation.”
Norton points to several other apparent edits in the 52-minute arrest video. At 32:37, a car drives from the left side of the frame, then flickers and vanishes. The same car appears again almost immediately at the beginning of its route, then drives toward the center of the frame and turns left.
At 33:04, the same car appears and disappears, appears and disappears again, then completes its original left-turn route. Seconds later, another car disappears, and the entire twenty-five-second sequence of footage repeats itself. Here’s that sequence from the original:
[There was a video here]
According to Texas Department of Safety spokesman Tom Vinger, the department “previously requested the FBI examine the dash cam and jail video to ensure the integrity of the video.”