Trooper Who Arrested Sandra Bland is Fired, Charged With Perjury

State trooper Brian Encinia, who arrested Sandra Bland on July 10, 2015 in Prairie View, Texas, was indicted by the Waller County grand jury on Wednesday for perjury.The grand jury has charged him for allegedly lying in an affidavit about Bland’s traffic stop, which ultimately resulted in the 28-year-old Black woman’sdeath in a Waller County jail cell three days later.

Encinia, whohas been on paid desk duty since Bland’s death, is now out of a job. The Texas Department of Public Safety announced shortly after the perjury chargeit will “begin termination proceedings to discharge him from the department.”

The perjury charge is a Class A misdemeanor, which carries up to a year in jail and up to a $4,000 fine.

“The indictment was issued in reference to the reasoning [Encinia] removed her from her vehicle,” Special Prosecutor Shawn McDonald said during a press conference Wednesday.

Sandra Bland

In a one-page affidavit Encinia filed after taking Bland to jail, he wrote, “I had Bland exit the vehicle to further conduct a safe traffic investigation.” The grand jury found this to be untrue.

Encinia also wrote she “became combative and uncooperative” after he pulled her over.

“We just don’t understand why it took six months to charge him for lying when you can see he was lying in the videotape they have had from the very beginning,” said Cannon Lambert, one of the attorneys representing Bland’s relatives. “We also don’t understand why [Encinia] wasn’t charged with assault when he said ‘I’ll light you up,’ and with battery for grabbing [Bland] when she was in the car.”

Related Story: Luke Visconti, CEO: The Murder of Sandra Bland’s Character

Encinia stopped Bland for failing to signal when changing lanes near her alma mater, Prairie View A&M University. She had just interviewed and accepted a job at the university. Police dashcam video shows the confrontation escalated after Encinia asked Bland to put out her cigarette and exit the car.

When she refused, he opened the driver-side door while adamantly saying, “Step out of the car. Step out or I will remove you.” A verbal altercation ensued. “I’m gonna yank you out of here,” Encinia said. He can be seen holding a stun gun and yelling, “I will light you up!”

The charges against Encinia come approximately two weeks after the same grand jury declined to indict anyone in connection to Bland’sdeath. On July 13, shewas found with a plastic bag around her neck and hanging from a jail cell partition. The formerNaperville, Ill. resident’s life ended inHempstead, Texas.

Related Story: No Indictments in Death of Sandra Bland

Medical examiners ruled her death a suicide, but Bland’s family has vehemently disagreed. The family has also publicly criticized the grand jury process.

In Chicago on Thursday Bland’s mother Geneva Reed-Veal said that Encinia should have been charged with assault, battery and false arrest.

“To charge this guy with a misdemeanor, are you kidding me” she said. “I’m angry, absolutely. … That’s not justice for me.”

“It’s something that should have happened at the inception of this case and this entire situation,” Sharon Cooper, Bland’s sister, said about the perjury charge against the trooper. “I feel like it’s acknowledgement for some of his actions, but not the totality of it. And that’s the problem that we have.”

Encinia also faces a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Bland’s family, scheduled for trial in January 2017.

After he was charged with perjury, Encinia was not immediately taken into custody, and an arraignment date has not yet been announced. His indictment concludes the grand jury’s investigation of Bland’scase.

Approximately two dozen people demonstrated outside the Waller County Courthouse on Wednesday. The public outcry against the arrest and death of Bland last summer came at a time when police-related deaths of Black Americans including Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray and Walter Scott placed a national spotlight on law enforcement’s use ofexcessive force.

Latest News

Juneteenth National Independence Day Act bill signing

House Passes — and Biden Signs — New Bill To Make Juneteenth a Federal Holiday

The U.S. House of Representatives has voted to designate Juneteenth as a federal holiday, one day after the Senate unanimously voted for its passage. President Biden quickly signed the bill into law on June 17, making this year’s Juneteenth the first national recognition of Black Independence Day in the United…

LGBTQ protection in schools

US Education Department Issues Statement Confirming Title IX Protects LGBTQ Students Against Discrimination

Following an executive order from President Joe Biden directing federal agencies to defend LGBTQ students against discrimination, the Education Department has issued an official statement saying that Title IX does indeed ensure equal protection for LGBTQ students under federal law. Jo Yurcaba of NBC News reported that the Department of…

Texas Governor Greg Abbott

Texas Governor Approves Bill Banning Discussions of Race and Racism Within State’s Schools

Texas lawmakers continue to astound with the number of racist, transphobic laws they are willing to try to write into law.  In the last few months alone, we’ve seen Texas lawmakers draft legislation that would penalize parents who support and help their transgender children access gender-affirming care with jail time…

Georgia Power, Georgia Power Foundation Invested More Than $20 Million To Help Meet Community Challenges in 2020

Originally published at Southern Company ranked No. 20 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Georgia Power and the Georgia Power Foundation today released their annual Citizenship Report highlighting how the company, its employees and retirees gave back to Georgia communities last year, helping to build…

Toyota Financial Services Issues New Asset-Backed Green Bond, Highlighting Toyota’s Ongoing Commitment to Sustainability

Originally published at Toyota Motor North America ranked No. 7 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Toyota Financial Services (TFS) issued its latest Asset-Backed Green Bond, reinforcing the company’s longstanding commitment to the sale of environmentally friendly vehicles. Net proceeds from the $1.6…

ADP Recognized as a Customers’ Choice in 2021 Gartner Peer Insights ‘Voice of the Customer’

Originally published at ADP ranked No. 8 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Industry analyst firm Gartner recognized ADP as a Customers’ Choice with category distinctions in Midsize Enterprises and North America in its 2021 Gartner Peer Insights ‘Voice of the Customer’: Cloud HCM Suites…

Cigna building

Cigna and New York Life Expand Eligibility for ‘Brave of Heart Fund’ Grants Supporting Families of Healthcare Workers Who Lost Their Lives in the Fight Against COVID-19

Originally published at Cigna ranked No. 33 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   On June 17, the foundations of New York Life and Cigna announced that the Brave of Heart Fund, which provides monetary grants to the families of heroic health care workers…