The Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper who arrested Sandra Bland turned himself into authorities after a warrant was issued for his arrest.
On Wednesday, a grand jury indicted Brian Encinia, 30, on a charge of perjury for lying about his arrest of Bland. If he is convicted on the misdemeanor charge, he will face up to one year in prison and a $4,000 fine.
Bland, 28, was stopped by Encinia for changing lanes without signaling. As he gave Bland, who is African American, a citation, he asked her to stop smoking and they both argued. When the argument escalated, Encinia dragged Bland out of her car and then arrested her for assaulting a police officer. Days later, authorities say Bland committed suicide by hanging herself in her cell.
Mugshot of Brian Encinia
The grand jury believes Encinia lied about the reasons he arrested Bland. After the indictment, the Texas Department of Public Safety began the process to fire Encinia who worked for the department for almost two years.
Days after Bland was dead, the Texas Department of Public Safety stated that Encinia had allegedly violated arrest protocols. In a statement, Texas DPS said, “In the preliminary review of the traffic stop that occurred in Prairie View on July 10, 2015, involving Sandra Bland, we have identified violations of the department’s procedures regarding traffic stops and the department’s courtesy policy. Pending the [investigation’s] outcome … the employee involved (Encinia) has been assigned administrative duties. At the conclusion of this investigation, any violations of protocols will be addressed.”
Bland's family held a press conference and welcomed the indictment, but believes that Bland was killed by the police or jailers.
In Chicago today, Sandra Bland's mother, Geneve Reed-Veal, told reporters that Encinia should have been charged with battery and false arrest. She also said she does not trust the justice system. "We have no truth from the other side," she said. "My baby's not on administrative leave, she's gone. There's a true depth of pain there that I can't even describe."
The grand jury issued no other indictments in the case.