The Texas trooper who stopped Sandra Bland before she died in a jail cell could soon find himself behind bars. A Waller County grand decided to indict Trooper Brian Encinia for perjury.
Encinia allegedly lied about what occurred during the traffic stop in July 2015. When asked about why he took Bland out of her car, he claimed that he took her out of the car to “further conduct a safer traffic investigation.”
However, dash-cam video proved that there wasn’t a need to force Bland out of her car. During their exchange, Encinia began yelling at Bland because she wouldn’t put out her cigarette. There isn’t a law that bans smoking during a traffic stop. Encinia threatened Bland and told her, “I will light you up,” referring to using his stun gun. He then grabbed her and forced her out of the car before slamming her to the ground.
Encinia was only charged with misdemeanor perjury. Bland’s family believes that he should have been charged with assault and making a false arrest. Bland, who had been recently hired by Prairie View, was later found dead in a jail cell. Texas DPS admitted that Encinia lacked professionalism and courtesy during the arrest and is in the process of being fired.
If convicted, Encinia could face one year in prison.