State Trooper Who Arrested Sandra Bland Fired

Former State Trooper Brian Encinia, who pulled Sandra Bland over last summer, has officially been fired.

Related Story: 3 of 4 Dead in Jail Never Convicted of a Crime

Encinia pulled over Bland, 28, in a routine traffic stop on July 10, 2015, when she failed to signal a lane change. He alleged that Bland started a confrontation. In an affidavit regarding Bland’s arrest, Encinia said, “I had Bland exit the vehicle to further conduct a safe traffic investigation. Bland became combative and uncooperative. Bland was removed from the car but became more combative.”

However, dash cam footage from Encinia’s patrol car revealed that a confrontation did not begin until Bland refused to put out her cigarette and Encinia, not Bland, became aggressive. He threatened to “yank” Bland out of the car and said, “I am gonna drag you out of here I will light you up.” Cell phone video from a witness of the arrest shows Bland laying on the ground, where she accuses Encinia of using excessive force: “You just slammed my head into the ground. Do you not even care about that I can’t even hear.”

The altercation ended in Bland’s arrest. Three days later, Bland was found dead in her jail cell. The medical examiner ruled Bland’s death a suicide by hanging. Bland’s friends and family were outraged by her death and said Bland, who was an activist for issues of police brutality, would never take her own life.

Related Story: Trooper Who Arrested Sandra Bland is Fired

In January, the Waller County grand jury indicted Encinia on perjury charges after it was determined that he lied in the affidavit. On Jan. 6, the Texas Department of Public Safety announced it would “begin termination proceedings” to fire Encinia. Encinia met with Steven C. McCraw, the department director, to discuss his termination. But in his termination letter to Encinia, McCraw said, “No cause has been presented to alter my preliminary decision.”

In addition to being charged with perjury, Encinia has also been accused of violating orders, not acting courteously during the initial traffic stop and prolonging Bland’s detention.

No one else at the jail has been indicted by the grand jury in connection to Bland’s death.

But for Bland’s mother, Geneva Reed-Veal, the perjury charge, which is only a misdemeanor, is not enough.

“I’m angry, absolutely. That’s not justice for me,” she said of the charge.

Related Story: Dash Cam Footage Shows Excessive Force in Sandra Bland’s Arrest

Bland’s death ignited further conversation about the treatment of Blacks while in police custody. It also sparked #IfIDieInPoliceCustody, a topic people used on Twitter to declare their own personal statements that they would never take their own lives while in police custody.

Bland was not the only Black woman to be found dead in a jail cell under suspicious circumstances. A month after Bland’s death, 37-year-old Ralkina Jones was arrested and was recorded telling officers, “I don’t want to die in your cell”; hours later, however, Jones was in fact found dead in her cell. And last month, 16-year-old Gynnya McMillen was found unresponsive in a juvenile detention center in Kentucky. It has since been revealed that detention center employees failed to perform proper checks on the young girl.

In August, Reed-Veal filed a wrongful death lawsuit alleging that her daughter should not have been arrested in the first place and that she was left in unsafe conditions following her arrest.

Latest News

Hershey Employees and Retirees in the US and Canada Pledged More Than $900,000 in 2021 To Support Nonprofit Organizations

Originally published on LinkedIn. The Hershey Company ranked No. 10 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.    Each year, our Season of Giving campaign encourages Hershey employees to make a difference by supporting nonprofit organizations which they find to be meaningful. Employees and retirees in…

Creating Windows and Mirrors: Hershey’s Amber Murayi on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the ‘World’s Top Female-Friendly Company’

Amber Murayi is the Hershey Company’s Senior Director of Enterprise Strategy & Business Model Innovation & Co-lead of the Women’s Business Resource Group. The Hershey Company ranked No. 10 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.    My position affords me a unique view of DEI…

Author Alice Sebold

Author Alice Sebold Apologizes for Her Role in the Wrongful Conviction of the Black Man Charged With Raping Her

In her acclaimed 1999 memoir Lucky, author Alice Sebold told the story of being raped in 1981 when she was a student at Syracuse University. The case resulted in a Black man named Anthony Broadwater being convicted and sent to prison. Sadly, Broadwater was innocent and wrongfully convicted — and…

Black renters

New Study Reveals Landlords Consistently Discriminate Against Potential Renters With Black or Hispanic ‘Sounding’ Names

In the largest study of its kind ever conducted, researchers with the National Bureau of Economic Research have uncovered what many people of color already know when hunting for an apartment or home: most landlords consistently discriminate or harbor bias against non-white individuals looking to rent their property.  Bloomberg’s Kelsey…

book banning

American Library Association Documents 155 Attempts at Banning Books About POC or LGBTQ Issues in the Last 6 Months

In a depressing turn for anyone who thought society may have outgrown book burning or censorship of books over the last 100 years, it appears the hate-filled phenomenon is back on the rise, increasing with alarming frequency across the country. CNN’s Nicole Chavez has reported the American Library Association “has…