The Texas trooper who arrested Sandra Bland has been indicted on perjury charges.
According to the Houston Chronicle, Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Brian Encinia was indicted by a Waller County grand jury Wednesday. If found guilty of the Class A misdemeanor, Encinia could face a $4,000 fine and up to a year in jail.
The perjury charge results from a statement in his arrest report in which he claimed that he pulled Bland from her car July 10, 2015, to continue an investigation.
“They just didn’t believe it … a warrant will be issued and we’ll go from there,” special prosecutor Darrell Jordan told the newspaper.
In Encinia’s police report, he claimed that he stopped Bland’s Hyundai Azera, with Illinois plates, around 4:30 p.m. the day of the arrest and said that she was “combative and uncooperative,” according to Heavy.com.
Encinia then claimed that after numerous commands for Bland to exit the car to “further conduct a safe traffic investigation, Bland was removed from the car but became more combative. Bland was placed in handcuffs for officer safety. Bland began swinging her elbows at me and then kicked my right leg in the shine [sic].”
Whether or not Encinia would face criminal charges was the last question the Waller County grand jury faced regarding charges in Bland’s death. In December the grand jury found that no Waller County jail employees were responsible for Bland’s death, the New York Times reports.
Bland was found hanged in her jail cell three days after her arrest. Jail officials claim that Bland, 28, who had just moved back to the area to start a new job, hanged herself after becoming despondent that her family wasn’t going to be able to immediately bail her out. Her family argues that she wouldn’t have committed suicide and that the woman police have claimed her to be is not the woman they knew.
The Bland family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit in federal court against “Trooper Encinia, Department of Public Safety, Waller County and county jailers Elsa Magnus and Oscar Prudente. A trial date is set for January 2017,” the Chronicle reports.