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Grand jury indicts trooper in Sandra Bland case

Wow.

Sandra Bland

Waller County grand jurors indicted Department of Public Safety trooper Brian Encinia on a single charge of perjury Wednesday because they did not believe he was telling the truth about his actions during the arrest of Sandra Bland, special prosecutor Darrell Jordan confirmed.

The charge against Encinia stems from the trooper’s statement at the time of her arrest on July 10 about why he felt he needed to pull her out of her own vehicle, Jordan told The Texas Tribune.

“The statement in the probable cause statement is that Officer Encinia pulled her out of her car to further the traffic stop investigation,” Jordan said.

As a result of the indictment – the only one issued by the grand jury in the Bland case – a warrant will be issued for Encinia’s arrest. It was not immediately known whether Encinia will turn himself into authorities. If convicted of the charge, Encinia could face up to a year in the Waller County Jail and a $4,000 fine.

“This grand jury is done,” Jordan said. “We just came to do our job to present the evidence and they came back with an indictment and we’ll go forward to seek justice on behalf of Waller County.”

The grand jury had previously declined to indict anyone, including county jail employees, in the death of Sandra Bland, then reconvened on Wednesday to continue considering charges. I have no idea what the evidence looks like right now, but it’s not too hard to imagine the possibility of the trooper fudging his facts. We will have to wait to see what the prosecution’s case looks like, and to see how Officer Encinia responds. The Chron, the Press, which has a copy of Officer Encinia’s sworn statement, Newsdesk, ThinkProgress, and Daily Kos have more.

UPDATE: More from Grits for Breakfast.

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2 Comments

  1. Steve Houston says:

    Has any word come out why they charged the trooper with a misdemeanor? If the special prosecutor was correct in what they were tagging him for, it should have been a felony. Frankly, having Bland step out of the vehicle to “further the investigation” could mean to sign the ticket, to protect himself from the lit cigarette she refused to put out, or any of an endless number of other lawful reasons.

    In contrast, remember when the city police chief, Bradford, was charged with felony perjury over lying under oath. It was proven he lied, proven it was or direct relevance to a statutory function he was charged with, and ultimately tossed out during trial. Maybe one of the legal beagles here will jump in but how many think the trooper will go to trial, be convicted, and serve any time based on the reasoning of the special prosecutor?

  2. […] here for the background. He will be pleading not guilty, while also appealing his termination from DPS. […]