Legal analyst breaks down what went wrong in Sandra Bland arrest video

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- The Texas Department of Transportation released on Tuesday video footage showing the traffic stop arrest of a woman who found dead inside her Waller County jail cell three days later.

Sandra Bland was pulled over July 10 for failing to signal, but video shows the minor traffic stop quickly escalated to something more. We asked KTRK legal analyst Joel Androphy to review the footage and explain the dos and don'ts for both sides.

"That's uncalled for. That's an officer who's undisciplined. She's clearly upset," Androphy said.

Androphy says some of what happened during the traffic stop in a gray area, legally speaking.

"If I'm walking down the street and an officer tells me to stop, I need to stop. You need to follow directions. That's the message I would tell most people. Otherwise it gets escalated into something like this," Androphy said.

Generally, Androphy says you should always comply with an officer's request -- whether he's asking you to lay down your phone, get out of your vehicle or put out your cigarette.

But that can be difficult in the heat of the moment. At some points in the stop, Androphy says, the officer took it too far by raising his voice instead of diffusing the situation.

"He's trying to get under her skin a little bit. She's upset. He should just give her a ticket and let her go," Androphy said.

Still, Androphy says his best advice to drivers is to stay calm and comply, knowing you can always file an official complaint later.

"Don't follow suit. You need to remain under control and don't let it escalate into this type of situation," he said.

During the traffic stop, Bland asked why she was being arrested, but the officer didn't answer. Androphy says people should expect an officer to tell them why they're being held, but it's not legally required.

Click here to learn more about your rights during a traffic stop.
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