Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Brian Encinia was indicted by a grand jury Wednesday for perjury, based on a statement he made in his report on his encounter with 28-year-old Sandra Bland.
Encinia’s traffic stop and arrest of Bland went viral after she was found hanging in her cell three days later. Video of the arrest showed Encinia pointing a Taser at Bland yelling “I will light you up!” after he pulled her over for failing to signal a lane change. Encinia got more and more heated after Bland refuses to put out her cigarette, at one point trying to pull her out of the car. Bland can be heard saying “you knocked my head in the ground and I got epilepsy.” “Good,” Encinia responds.
Before the video went public, Encinia claimed that Bland had assaulted him by swinging her elbows at him and kicking him in the shin. The perjury charge reportedly stems from his statement that he pulled Bland out of her car in order to continue the investigation.
A Texas grand jury declined to bring charges against any of the jail staff for Bland’s death last month. The perjury charge against Encinia is a misdemeanor offense with a comparatively minor sentence: up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.
Encinia was previously disciplined for “unprofessional conduct” and the Department of Public Safety admitted that Encinia violated traffic stop protocol. The department was also accused of initially editing the dash cam footage of the encounter.
Bland’s family has also filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Waller County, which is scheduled for a hearing next year.