“I edit footage for a living. But anyone can see that this official video has been cut,” DuVernay tweeted on Tuesday evening.
— Ava DuVernay (@AVAETC) July 22, 2015
As soon as the video hit the Internet, social media exploded in outrage, not only over the violence and abuse Bland endured during the arrest, but also about apparent discrepancies in the footage.
The Texas Department of Public Safety has since removed their upload of the footage, but it was downloaded and uploaded by many other YouTube users. The following day, they released a new version. The LA Times created a side-by-side to compare them (initial release on left, new release on right.)
"Get out of the car! I will light you up," State Trooper Brian Encinia screams at Bland in the footage as he points his taser at her.
“Someone clearly cut footage out and looped part of the video in order to correspond with the recorded audio of Texas state trooper Brian Encinia speaking,” writer Ben Norton said of the video. “Who exactly edited the footage is unknown, but the video was recorded by police and released by the Texas Department of Public Safety.”
In one section of the footage, a man is seen walking from a tow-truck towards the incident; the image then loops as the audio continues.
"Some of the video that occurred during this conversation was affected in the upload and is being addressed," Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Tom Vinger told Mother Jones, blaming it on a YouTube glitch.
— TheKorTurn (@TheKorTurn) July 22, 2015
The police claim Bland hanged herself with a trash bag inside of her Waller County jail cell three days after she was arrested during a traffic stop for failing to use her turn signal.
Activists and relatives immediately spoke out on the suspicious nature of her death, and Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis, working with the FBI, has vowed to investigate as thoroughly as they would a murder investigation, stating it was “too early,” to definitively determine the cause of death.
Meanwhile, the chief of police has stated that there was no criminal activity involved in her death, maintaining that it was simply a “tragic incident.”
“I have a baby to put in the ground. She wasn’t my convict, she wasn’t my suspect – she was my baby, ” Geneva Reed-Veal, Bland’s grieving mother told a crowd at the Johnson Phillip All Faiths Church during a memorial service.
“Once I put this baby in the ground, I’m ready. … This means war.”