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Brian Encinia, the state trooper who arrested Sandra Bland, has been indicted for perjury and will be fired by the Texas Department of Public Safety. Bland was found dead in her jail cell three days after her arrest, and a grand jury determined Encinia lied on his arrest report.
DPS has initiated termination proceedings against Encinia, and special prosecutor Darrell Jordan said that a warrant will be issued for his arrest.
The indictment stems from Encinia's statement on his arrest report that he "had Bland exit the vehicle to further conduct a safe traffic investigation." But video from Encinia's onboard camera and a bystander painted a different picture:
As you can see in the video, tension escalated after Encinia asked Bland to put out her cigarette. When she refused, he ordered her to get out of her car. Bland then cursed at Encinia, who eventually drew a Taser and yelled, "I will light you up."
Jordan said the grand jury "just didn't believe it," and issued the indictment. Encinia will be criminally charged with perjury, a Class A misdemeanor for which he could face up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.
DPS released a statement yesterday: "Following the Waller County grand jury indictment of Trooper Brian Encinia today, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will begin termination proceedings to discharge him from the department." Encinia's perjury charge, it appears, will be the only one brought in Bland's death.
Bland was found hanging in her Waller County jail cell from a noose made from a trash bag, and her death was ruled a suicide by medical examiners. While state regulators found that the jail violated minimum standards and faulted the jail for not putting Bland under stricter observation, no one at the jail was charged in her death. And special prosecutor Jordan noted the grand jury had finished investigating the case and would not issue any more indictments.
Bland's family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Encinia, DPS, the Waller County Sheriff's Office, and two Waller County jailers.
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