10 Things About The Sandra Bland Traffic Stop That Every Texan Should Know

On July 10, 28-year-old Sandra Bland was arrested and charged with assaulting a public servant. She was taken to the Waller County Jail; three days later, she was found in her cell dead from what officials called suicide. Both the FBI and the Texas Rangers launched investigations trying to find out what happened.

Dashboard camera footage from Bland’s traffic stop was released on Tuesday. (Note: The video was uploaded to YouTube Tuesday evening; it has since been taken down, after people pointed out errors and inconsistencies in the video, which led many to believe it had been edited. A DPS spokesman denied editing the video, and re-uploaded the footage without errors or omissions this afternoon.)

Questions, in the wake of the video: What are the rules? Not policies or politeness – specifically, what are your rights when you’re pulled over by police?

Jim Harrington, director of the Texas Civil Rights Project, speaks with Texas Standard about the footage of the arrest, point-by-point. Here’s a transcript of the conversation, edited for brevity and clarity:
The trooper asks, “You mind putting out your cigarette please?” And Ms. Bland says, “Well, I’m in my car – why do I have to put out my cigarette?” Does she have to put out her cigarette?
Harrington: No, she doesn’t have to put out her cigarette. And you wonder why the officer is even bothering with that. This is part of his escalation of the whole event that unfolded, unfortunately.
The next part: “Step out of the car.” Ms. Bland says, “You do not have the right.” He interrupts – “I do have the right, step out of the car or I will remove you.” Does he have the right, first, to order her to step out of the car? And second, to actually physically remove her from the car?
Harrington: He does not have the right to say, get out of the car. He has to express some reason. ‘I need to search your car,’ or, whatever; he needs to give a reason. He can’t just say ‘get out of the car’ for a traffic offense.
It’s one thing to say he has a reason; it’s another to say he has to give a reason. He may have had probable cause, or thought he had it, we don’t know. Does he have to state it?
Harrington: He doesn’t have to state probable cause; he has to state some reason … And that’s part of the training that he should have had about how to de-escalate a situation. She’s clearly upset about what happened, particularly – as we know later on – that she moved over because he was tailing her. … He should be working on de-escalation. That’s the key. 
Ms. Bland says, “I refuse to talk to you other than to identify myself.” Is she right or wrong?
Harrington: She’s right. Unfortunately, officers don’t like it when you know the law. In this case, even if you are right, you are still in danger. And that’s what we see unfolding here.
The trooper says, “I am giving you a lawful order.” Now, is the lawful order to extinguish the cigarette, or to get out of the car, or neither?
Harrington: You can’t tell why. Certainly, telling her to put out the cig was not a lawful order. Just saying ‘Get out of the car,’ in and of itself, without an explanation, is not lawful. And you see him say that throughout the video without ever saying why [or] what’s going on here. It’s clear to me that he’s trying to assert authority that he probably does not have under the law, and he’s escalating the situation because he is upset. [He] doesn’t exercise the training that he needs to be exercising to de-escalate this situation.
“I’m gonna yank you out of here,” is what the trooper says. Can he physically “yank” her out of her vehicle?
Harrington: He can’t do that either, unless she’s posing a threat to his welfare and safety. What he should have done was just wait for backup, if he couldn’t de-escalate it himself. But you don’t just pull somebody out of the car, and point that taser in her face. What if it had gone off? She’d have permanent brain damage.
She says, “Dont touch me, I’m not under arrest.” Trooper says, “You are under arrest. She says, “Under arrest for what?” He then turns to his shoulder-mounted radio, and asks for another unit. Does he have an obligation as a law enforcement officer to tell her why she is under arrest?
Harrington: Yes. He needs to – it’s not clear to her what’s going on. He needs to tell her, ‘You’re under arrest because …,’ but you can’t really tell her that. Because you can’t tell from the video that there’s any reason to have her under arrest.
She asserts her right to record this with her cell phone. That’s a right that has been clearly established. Is that true?
Harrington: She has a right to do that. But that’s another example where the officer perceives this as a challenge to his authority – and it further escalates the whole scenario.
When he says “get out of the car, or I will light you up,” he is apparently referring to the use of a taser. Is that a legitimate threat? Is that something that’s okay for officers to do in that situation?
Harrington: No – here’s the situation where he is clearly violating her constitutional rights. This is excessive force on the part of the officer – to take that taser and point it in her face and say, ‘I’m going to harm you.’ Taser is the last recourse to a gun. And if he can’t get her out, he can’t de-escalate it, he’s got to wait for another officer to come and talk through this.
Right now, the trooper has been placed on administrative duty. He’s not on leave, he’s still working for DPS. It’s our understanding that there is a violation of policy here – he should not have allowed it to escalate.
We are talking about a certain level of discretion that the state apparently entrusts with its troopers. Should officers have that much discretion?
Harrington: He clearly exceeded that. … The discretion here is, how do you de-escalate the situation? He could have just given her the ticket and walked away. Just like that. But he had to go through this confrontation. Of course, there are questions of race that come up here. And the fact that this is an out-of-state car moving through the town – and we know in Texas that’s a pretty typical profiling event. What bothers me a lot is that troopers are supposed to be the best-trained police officers we have in the state. This guy is clearly out of control – clearly shouldn’t be out on the streets dealing with people – [given] this level of escalation that he provokes.

BURIAL ABORTED AFTER BABY “RESURRECT” IN NYAMIRA

Residentsesidents of Bundo Village are still in shock after a funeral ceremony aborted following an incident where a baby “resurrected”.

The baby’s father said that his wife gave birth to a prematurely at 7 months of pregnancy on Sunday at their home and was later taken to Nyamira Level Four Hospital for treatment.
The baby was put in a nursery until Tuesday when it was pronounced dead by the hospital nurses, which led to the family making funeral arrangements.

Things took a strange twist during the ceremony after a woman requested to view the baby’s body in order to pay her last respects but was shocked to find the ‘dead’ smiling back at her from the coffin.

The baby’s mother, who is still admitted at the hospital, expressed joy at finding her child still alive.
Unconfirmed reports later revealed that the child could not make it

God’s position is the best

I attended a birthday party with a gathering of about 30 people. I sat at the front seat. A lady started distributing food. She started from the back and unfortunately, it didn’t get to us sitting at the front.
Another lady started sharing the drinks, she started from the front but unfortunately I had already moved to sit at the back. Again the drink didn’t get to me.
I was so furious that I stood up to take my leave but then I saw three ladies each with a big bowl. This time, I tried to be wise by sitting at the middle. One of the ladies started the sharing from the front, the second lady started distributing from the back. The two ladies were sharing fried turkey.
When they got to the middle where I was seated, it got finished again! Feeling so frustrated, I bent my head, putting my face in my hands… but then the third lady tapped me and stretched her bowl for me to pick. I stretched and put my hands inside the bowl… Guess
what was in the bowl?
Toothpicks.

Moral: Do not try to position yourself in life, allow God to put you in the right place otherwise you will wrongfully position yourself for toothpicks.

Christian Bakers: Ruling Should Scare Every American

Aaron and Melissa Klein, the Christian bakers who refused to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple in 2013, are standing strong in their beliefs after the latest round of fines brought against them.

Last Thursday, an Oregon labor commissioner ordered the owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa to pay $135,000 in emotional damages to the couple.

The official then banned them from speaking publicly about their conscientous decision to follow their religious beliefs by not baking any cakes for same-sex weddings.

The company has gone out of business due to the legal battle.

CBN News spoke with Hans von Spakovsky, senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation, about the massive fine and gag order imposed on the Christian bakers. Click play to watch the interview.

An article by The Daily Signal, a publication of the Heritage Foundation, states that Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian ordered Aaron and Melissa Klein to “cease and desist” from openly professing that they won’t serve gay weddings because of their Christian beliefs.

A donation page has been set up for the Kleins on the Christian fundraising site, Continue to Give.

Avakian cited an Oregon state law in his ruling:

“The Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries hereby orders (the Kleins) to cease and desist from publishing, circulating, issuing or displaying, or causing to be published … any communication to the effect that any of the accommodations … will be refused, withheld from or denied to, or that any discrimination be made against, any person on account of their sexual orientation.”

During a visit in Oregon, the Kleins told CBN News they were shocked by the gag order.

“You’re looking at a government agency telling a private citizen what they can and cannot say…This should scare every American,” Aaron said. “That’s downright scary that the government that was put in place to protect our freedoms is now stripping them away from us.”

His wife, Melissa, said she should not be constrained from talking about her faith.

“I don’t see how somebody can tell me to be quiet and, frankly, I’m not going to be quiet about my faith,” she said. “I mean it’s my faith and I should have every right to talk about it.”

The Kleins say they’re planning to appeal the ruling.

WOMEN’S ORDINATION NOT APPROVED

OFFICIAL STATEMENT TO FOLLOW

July 08, 2015 | San Antonio, Texas, USA | ANN / Adventist Review staff

A delegate casts their ballot in on the question of women’s ordination. [Photo ©2015 Adventist Review / ANN. Photo by Bryant Taylor]

At the 60th General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists delegates considered the following question regarding the ordination of women to the gospel ministry:

“Is it acceptable for division executive committees, as they may deem it appropriate in their territories, to make provision for the ordination of women to the gospel ministry? Yes or No”

At the conclusion of the vote the count was as follows:

  • No: 1381
  • Yes: 977
  • Abstain: 5
  • Total: 2363

An official statement from the General Conference regarding the vote will follow in the coming hours.

Pope Francis: God Has Instructed Me to Revise the Ten Commandments

GUAYAQUIL, Ec. – Pope Francis kicked off the start of a three-nation trip across South America today with his first mass, with over a million Ecuadorians in attendance, in the coastal city of Guayaquil. Delivering the mass in Spanish, the Pope spoke about the importance of family in modern society, saying, “It needs to be helped and strengthened, lest we lose our proper sense of the services which society as a whole provides.”

During his sermon, Pope Francis announced to Christians around the world that God had called upon him, instructing him “to revise the most sacred of texts, the Ten Commandments.” Given to the Israelites by God himself at Mount Sinai, the Commandments include instructions for worship and list several prohibited practices.

Pope Francis said Christians around the world are “faced with ever-increasing temptations brought on by the evils of modern society.” The Pope said the updated Commandments reflect the changing times and include some minor rewording of the existing rules as well as the addition of two new Commandments.

The Fourth Commandment, which advocates that proper respect be shown towards one’s parents, has been reworded in order to include children raised by same-sex parents. Pope Francis said the Seventh Commandment, prohibiting adultery and, among other things, homosexuality, has been removed entirely, as instructed by God, in order to extend “God’s grace to all His children.”

Addressing the inclusion of the new Commandments, which bring the total number to eleven, Pope Francis praised the rapid growth of technology in the digital age but said “progress comes at a price.” The new Fifth Commandment, which replaces the prohibition of adultery, forbids all aspects of genetic engineering and bans the consumption of genetically modified foods.

Lastly, the Eleventh Commandment disallows personal idolization and the glorification of one’s self over God. Using the Kardashians, a highly publicized celebrity family, as an example, Pope Francis said, “Selfies are an abomination in the eyes of our Lord.”

A spokesman for the Vatican, Father Federico Lombardi, said the Eleven Commandments are currently being etched into marble by an Italian sculptor and, upon completion, will be unveiled to the world in Saint Peter’s Square following an internationally televised mass.

County Clerk Resigns Over Gay Marriage Legalization | Says “I Choose to Obey God Not Man”

County clerk, Linda Barnette, is making headlines due to her decision to resign from her job over the same sex marriage legalization issue.

According to Fox News, as county clerk, Barnette had issued marriage licenses in Mississippi, USA for 24 years. However, she abruptly resigned on Tuesday.

An excerpt of her resignation letter reads:

I choose to obey God rather than man…I am a follower of Christ and I believe strongly that the Bible is my final authority. The Bible teaches that a marriage is to be between a man and a woman. Therefore, because of the recent ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court, I can no longer fulfill my duties as Circuit Clerk and issue marriage licenses to same sex couples.

Further commenting on the matter, she said:

“I told my supervisors a while back if it happened, I would tender my resignation. I had already decided in my heart that I could not issue marriage licenses to same sex couples. It’s my Christian belief. As a follower of Christ, I could not do it. The bible teaches it is contrary to His plan.”