The state trooper who arrested Sandra Bland, the Chicago-area woman who three days later was found hanged in her cell at the Waller County jail, has been indicted on a perjury charge, a special prosecutor said here Wednesday.
The charge against the Texas state trooper, Brian T. Encinia, is a Class A misdemeanor, and was announced at the end of a day of grand jury deliberations. The charge carries a possible penalty of one year in jail and a $4,000 fine, prosecutors said.
The charge stemmed from a one-page affidavit that Trooper Encinia filed with jail officials justifying the arrest of Ms. Bland, who was pulled over in a routine traffic stop in Prairie View, northwest of Houston, for failing to use her turn signal. Ms. Bland, 28, who was black, was returning to Texas in July to take a job at her alma mater, Prairie View A&M.
The trooper wrote that he removed Ms. Bland from her car in order to conduct a safe traffic investigation, but “the grand jury found that statement to be false,” a special prosecutor, Shawn McDonald, said.
The question of criminal charges against Trooper Encinia was believed to be the last major issue before the Waller County grand jury, which began its investigation in August, special prosecutors Darrell Jordan and Lewis White told reporters outside the Waller County Courthouse earlier on Wednesday. Earlier, the grand jury declined to indict any of Ms. Bland’s jailers in connection with her death on July 13, effectively sustaining the medical examiner’s ruling of suicide.
Ms. Bland’s family, which has filed a wrongful-death suit, has expressed frustration and disappointment with the grand jury, saying Waller County officials have failed to keep them informed about its progress. Cannon Lambert, the family’s attorney, has called it a “sham of a process.” The Waller County district attorney, Elton Mathis, appointed an independent panel of five lawyers, including Mr. Jordan and Mr. White, to oversee the investigation.
The family’s lawsuit — filed in federal court in Houston and scheduled for trial in January 2017 — claims that Ms. Bland should never have been arrested and accuses Trooper Encinia of making up a reason to arrest her. It also claims that Ms. Bland, who told jail officials of a previous suicide attempt, was not given proper supervision by jail officials.
You can find the complete article on New York Times.
What are your thoughts on this? I’m not very confident in this justice system.