Brian Encinia, the Texas state trooper who arrested Sandra Bland during a contentious traffic stop, has been indicted on charges of perjury, accused of lying about how he removed Bland from her car. Soon after a grand jury returned the indictment, the state said Encinia would be fired.
On July 10, 2015, Bland was pulled over for failing to user her turn signal. Tension between Bland and Encinia escalated verbally and physically, and Encinia arrested Bland. Three days after her arrest, she was found hanged in her jail cell at the Waller County Jail.
Now, nearly six months later, Encinia has been indicted by a grand jury on perjury charges, and the Department of Public Safety says it will start proceedings to fire him.
The New York Times reports that the perjury charge stemmed from a one-page affidavit Encinia filed after arresting 28-year-old Bland, who is black. He wrote that he removed Bland from the car in order to conduct a safe traffic investigation. After watching a video of the confrontation from the officer’s dashcam, released weeks after Bland’s death, “the grand jury found [Encinia’s] statement to be false,” special prosecutor Shawn McDonald said.
The same grand jury that declined to indict any law enforcement officials in Bland’s death found reason to indict Encinia on perjury charges, Syeda Hasan reports for NPR’s Newscast unit.
McDonald said grand jurors reviewed all the facts.
“We’re just presenting evidence, so we’re just giving them everything that’s been given to us and make sure we have everything that they need,” he said.
Hasan adds that Bland’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.