Social media users have been reacting with cynicism and disgust today following claims that police footage of Sandra Bland’s arrest was edited before it was released.
Discrepancies in the clip were first pointed out by Ava DuVernay, the director of Oscar-nominated civil rights movement film Selma, who took to Twitter with her allegations on Tuesday night.
Since then, other people have been inundating the site with their comments.
One user asked Texas Police Department: ‘What is Texas hiding? Makes one think Sandra Bland was indeed murdered while in custody.’
Meanwhile Texas officials insisted on Wednesday that the video had not been edited and that the glitches were due to technical issues. It said another version of the footage would be released.
‘The video has not been edited,’ said Tom Vinger, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety.
He added that some of the video during a conversation between the trooper and his sergeant after the arrest of Bland was ‘affected in the upload and is being addressed’, and that DPS was working to repost it.
The department has also asked the FBI to investigate ‘to ensure the integrity of the video’.
Director Ava DuVernay claimed that the video of the arrest of African American Bland, released by the department yesterday, shows clear signs of being altered.
The dashcam video shot from the police patrol car shows state trooper Brian Encinia pulling over 28-year-old Bland for failing to signal a turn, followed by a confrontation between the activist and the officer.
Police say Ms Bland, from Chicago, was found hanged in a Waller County jail cell three days after being arrested and charged with assault on a public servant.
‘I edit footage for a living. But anyone can see that this official video has been cut,’ Ms Duvernay posted on Twitter.
She added: ‘Glitches. Motion sensors. Clouds. Reasons from those who say SandraBland vid is pristine. Doesn’t explain loops + audio cuts. But, um, ok.’
In a third tweet, she said in response to other users: ‘I disagree. But not worth arguing about. Because the real issue is: What really happened to SandraBland? Missing info from start to finish. Why?’
However, authorities in Texas denied the footage had been doctored and said that a technical glitch and not editing was the culprit for the confusing irregularities in the 52-second dashcam video.
Tom Vinger, who is with the Department of Public Safety said that a ‘technical issue during posting’ caused the problem and that they would release a cleaned up version very soon.
Multiple allegations have been made about the 52-minute video – which can be viewed in full on YouTube – since its release, including claims that footage has been removed and looped to match the audio recording.
Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said that prosecutors would handle the case as thoroughly ‘as it would be in a murder investigation’, adding that it was ‘too early’ to determine what happened.
One of the most conspicuous moments in the footage comes at 25.12, when a man gets out of his truck in the centre of the screen and walks off screen to the right.
At 25:20, the same man reappears getting out of his car again, and the footage flickers before settling.
At 33:02, a a white car drives into the left-hand-side of the frame before disappearing and reappearing seconds later.
The same white car can be seen again driving into the frame at 33:50. The car drives into the shot, followed by a dark grey car.
Both cars disappear from the centre of the screen at 33.56, before reappearing again from the left of the screen.
The white car disappears again at 33.59, and both vanish again at 34:06.
Meanwhile the audio recording of the officer making a phone call to report the incident continues smoothly.
The video, recorded on July 10, shows the officer pulling Bland over, before a confrontation develops and she is arrested.
The confrontation between the two parties began when Encinia asked Bland to put out a cigarette and she responded ‘Why do I have to put out a cigarette in my own car?’
He ordered her out of the vehicle and when she refused, he informed her she was under arrest.
Encinia also said ‘I will yank you out of the car’ and ‘I’m going to drag you out.’
When Bland still refused to move, Encinia yanked her door open and appeared to try to drag her out physically before he eventually grabbed his Taser and yelled: ‘I will light you up.’
Bland then exited the car and continued to complain about her treatment by the officer.
After being ordered to put down her phone, Bland said she would look forward to seeing him in court and a physical confrontation began off-camera after Encinia put her in handcuffs.
At various points during the confrontation, Bland said ‘you are such a p***y’, ‘this make you feel real good, you’re a real man’, ‘y’all strong’, and ‘South Carolina got y’all b***h a***s scared’.
In the course of the video, Bland claims the officer ‘slammed her head on the ground’.
The officer claims that Bland kicked him, which is confirmed by his female partner.
As Bland and the police officer are off-screen throughout the confrontation, however, there is no footage of either assault taking place.
Bland family lawyer Cannon Lambert confirmed there is no footage of Bland kicking Encinia, as the Texas DPS had previously claimed.