I am a 20 year old white female, and according to recent news reports, I am not the primary target of police brutality. Yet after watching the recording of Sandra Bland’s arrest, and carefully reading through the transcripts, I have become afraid. The actions of Brian Encinia show just how little rights American citizens have against police officers. It is now apparent to me that I cannot question the actions of a police officer, I cannot answer questions that the police officer asked himself if the answers are not what he wants to hear, and, most importantly, I can be threatened, harassed, and assaulted if I commit the crime of irritating a police officer. I can only come to one conclusion: it is evident that police officers have too much power, making them equivalent to some untouchable force, and therefore weakening our basic human rights.
It is obvious even to those who possess no knowledge of the jurisdiction that Encinia unlawfully harassed and arrested Sandra Bland. It seems that he didn’t enjoy the smell of cigarette smoke coming out of Bland’s car, or the fact that she answered his own questions not to his liking. What angered me the most was that Encinia had the audacity to yell “I’m giving you a lawful order,” when there was nothing lawful in his actions.
Many have commented that Sandra Bland was rude to Encinia, and that if she had simply put out her cigarette the situation would not have escalated. My only response to this is: why should she have to? And who decided that it was illegal to not smile and answer “yes sir!” to everything a police officer says. More importantly, who can guarantee that they, too, would not get upset if they felt they were being treated unfairly? I am a law-abiding, good-mannered citizen, and I cannot say I wouldn’t have reacted the same way that Sandra Bland did. Would Encinia have reacted differently because I am white? Or did he just decide that he didn’t feel like putting up with extra attitude that day? Either way, this is not only a racial profiling issue, but also an issue of corrupt police forces. We are taught early on that we must talk sweetly to police officers, and be nothing but polite and respectful. I now understand what the consequences could be if we do not. It seems that police officers are able to twist any law into excusing their actions.
The recording of Sandra Bland’s arrest was cringe-worthy. I felt anger and sorrow as I watched how Encinia abused his powers and assaulted a woman for no other reason than his dislike for her “attitude”. I cannot imagine the anguish Bland’s loved ones felt when they watched their daughter, sister, or friend be pushed, pulled, and forced down.
While in this case Encinia did not directly kill Sandra Bland, I do believe that Officer Brian Encinia broke Sandra Bland’s spirit. While it is heartbreaking that she died in such unfortunate circumstances, I hope that the media attention Sandra Bland’s arrest and subsequent death has drawn will bring forth much-needed changes. I pray that Sandra’s family finds peace and that, in the end, justice will be served.