Perjury Charge Dismissed Against Officer Who Arrested Sandra Bland

Sandra Bland

On July 10, 2015, Texas Department of Public Safety trooper Brian Encinia stopped Sandra Bland for failure to signal a lane change.  Sandra was 28-years old.  She was in Texas to start a job on August 3, 2015 as a summer program associate with Prairie View A&M University in Waller County, Texas.

Upon returning to Sandra’s car with citations for her to sign, Encinia asked Sandra to put out her cigarette.  When Sandra asked Encinia why she would need to put out her cigarette in her own car, Encinia ordered Sandra out of her car, and taking out his stun gun, threatened to “light” her up if she did not comply.  Encinia accused Sandra of assaulting him and she was taken to jail.

On July 13, 2015, Sandra was found dead in her jail cell.  She was found hung with a plastic trash bag around her neck, from a partition that was shorter or about the same height as Sandra, who was 6 feet tall.

In January 2016, a grand jury indicted Brian Encinia (the arresting officer) for perjury.  The grand jury did not believe Encinia’s statement that he wanted Sandra removed from her car so he could conduct a safer traffic investigation. The Texas Department of Public Safety terminated Encinia for violating department standards. Encina was freed on a $2,500 bond.  If convicted for perjury, he faced up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

In March 2016, Brian Encinia was formerly fired from his law enforcement job.

Brian Encinia

According to papers filed today with the Waller County Courthouse in Hempstead, Texas, the prosecutor has dismissed the charge of perjury.  Before the special prosecutor agreed to dismiss the charge, Encinia said he no longer wanted to work in law enforcement, and surrendered his Texas Commission on Law Enforcement license.

Houston attorney Chip Lewis who represents Encinia welcomed the dismissal of the charge saying;

“He did not commit any criminal act. He would do anything in the world to go back and change the circumstances if he could,” said Lewis, who said his client was a victim of “righteous outcry over the death of Sandra Bland.”

According to the LA Times, Sandra Bland’s family was not given notice that the charge against Encinia was being dismissed. Attorney Cannon Lambert who represents Bland’s family stated;

You cannot expect communities to feel confident with the system if officers are caught lying in written documents and are not held accountable. “The notion that the special prosecutor would make a decision like this in the face of the kind of case without communicating with the family is deplorable.”

In September, 2016, Bland’s family settled a wrongful death lawsuit for $1.9 million.  The lawsuit was filed against Waller County and the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Sandra’s death has not been in vain.  In June, 2017, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law the Sandra Bland Act. It forces county jails to send people with mental health and drug abuse issues to treatment, eases the ability of defendants to get personal bond if they have a mental or intellectual disability, and requires independent law agencies to investigate prison deaths.

 

 

Posted on 06/28/2017, in Black lives matter, Cases, Sandra Bland and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. What a strong, brave woman. Officers MUST be held accountable.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. Oh please, “He did not commit any criminal act. He would do anything in the world to go back and change the circumstances if he could,” said Lewis, who said his client was a victim of “righteous outcry over the death of Sandra Bland.”

    No Mr. Lewis, Sandra Bland is the victim and the outcry is indeed righteous.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Mindyme,
      When the Sandra Bland Act was before the Texas Congress, there was lots of push-back for sections that addressed search and seizures and profiling. The push-back was from various law enforcement unions. So, that part of the Act was removed.

      With Encinia being fired from his job, and now having surrendered his Texas law officer license, I suspect that he regrets escalating the situation and arresting Sandra. You’re right — his actions started the snowball to roll. But with being charged for perjury where he stood trial and was MAYBE convicted, the maximum sentence would have been one year. It’s better to take him off of the streets forever.

      Liked by 6 people

  3. yahtzeebutterfly

    My thoughts and prayers are with Sandra’s family.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. We are forgetting something here: This wondrous Black woman was MURDERED! Alone, helpless, in a cage, she was CUNNINGLY BRUTALIZED, and strangled to DEATH!

    “Erased videos”, “Missing footage”. These are sure and certain evidences of COVERUP!

    This is not “new” to Texas. This is how you “deal” with “uppity” black people. Especially if they reject white men’s threating advances with derision.

    This bad, stupid, wanna-be “tough” cop is a scapegoat. I would give a year to have a recording of the “deal” that was made to him to “make this go away”!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Exactly! “This is not “new” to Texas. This is how you “deal” with “uppity” black people. Especially if they reject white men’s threating advances with derision.”

      Trust me, it’s not only Texas. As a SC born GRITS I can attest to that.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. Jay S Parks writes: “This is not “new” to Texas. This is how you “deal” with “uppity” black people. Especially if they reject white men’s threating advances with derision.”
    That my friend is only partial truth. THIS IS NOT “NEW” TO AMERICA!!! How is it that we can read almost daily (in 2017, mind you) of the mistreatment of persons of color around this nation. I dare not begin to recount the various incidences that I have read about just this week. Unfortunately for people of color, this has been a way of life and it seems that………..the saga continues.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. crustyolemothman

    In our nations history how will the records of this young woman’s death be recorded? Will it be with truth or will it be with a bias towards forgiving the state of the union that allowed it to occur? Is anyone actually surprised that this man who was only charged in an effort to placate the citizens in the area, who were threatening protests over her death, was to never see the inside of a courtroom as a defendant? I find it much more troubling that as of this date there has been no real investigation into her death, I don’t mean like the one that they did in an effort to once again, lull the community into what some people call “their place”! Is it not time that all citizens of this nation receive equal justice? No, actually it is well past time that “ALL PEOPLE” receive equal justice!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mothman,
      See my comment to Bill.
      It’s the structure of police departments that sends the seeking of justice into different directions. For example, there is a Review Board now reviewing the findings in the killing of Keith Lamont Scott. There’s a Review Board issuing disciplinary actions on 5 of the 6 officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray. In other words, there are prosecutors, grand juries, trial juries, Review Boards, and independent investigators and they all work independently examining the same evidence and testimony and come to different conclusions.

      The scales are not equal from the get-go.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. bottom line for me is simple the garbage bag they claim she used to hang herself is NOT long enough to tie the knots required and they were too weak to hold her weight…she did NOT hang herself PERIOD.

    Like

    • Bill,
      That garbage bag hanging makes no sense to me either. It appears that her family and lawyer for her family, knowing they could not get evidence of foul play, agreed quickly with their adversary and focused on the unlawful arrest leading to her being in jail. Encinia lied about why he arrested her. It went before a grand jury who indicted him.

      The plea bargain leading to the dismissal of the perjury charge is a blessing in disguise when considering the following. We have seen cases that go to trial where juries see and hear video, testimony about inconsistencies by the officer, disregard that a grand jury indicted the defendant, and still acquit or not agree and there is a mistrial.

      Encinia told the prosecutor he doesn’t want to work in law enforcement again and he surrendered his Texas law officer license. Had he gone to trial and a jury decided to find him guilty, the maximum sentence is one year. Encinia’s agreement takes him off the streets of Texas for life.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. We’ve seen so many arrests but very few convictions. This has to change.

    Like

  9. roach59, mindyme62 – I never said nor meant to imply that this behavior was limited to Texas. However it happened in Texas, and we were speaking of this incident. Also, I once lived in Texas…

    Like

Your comments are appreciated.

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: