Texas Trooper Who Arrested Sandra Bland Has Been Indicted
A Waller County grand jury has indicted Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Brian Encinia on perjury charges. The charge is a Class A misdemeanor. If convicted, Encinia could face up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.
Grand juries typically review felony cases. Darrell Jordan, one of five special prosecutors assigned to the case, stated “Because he [is] an officer, they have to go through an indictment process, regardless of whether it’s a felony or a misdemeanor.” The grand jury’s indictment stemmed from a statement by Encinia
Encinia pulled Bland over on July 10, 2015 for making an improper lane change near Prairie View A&M University, her alma mater, where she had just interviewed and accepted a job. Dashcam video from Encinia’s patrol car shows that the traffic stop quickly became confrontational.
The video shows the trooper holding a stun gun and yelling, “I will light you up!” after Bland refuses to get out of her car. Bland eventually steps out of the vehicle, and Encinia ordered her to the side of the road.
Encinia’s probable cause affidavit that he filed to justify his arrest of Sandra, stated he “removed her from her vehicle to further conduct a safer traffic investigation,” but grand jurors “found that statement to be false,” said Shawn McDonald, one of five special prosecutors appointed to investigate.
Because of her arrest, Sandra was taken to the jail where she was later found hung in her cell. The grand jury failed to indict anyone for her death.
Sandra’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Encinia.