Brian T. Encinia, the Texas State Trooper who made the initial and violent arrest of Sandra Bland during a routine traffic stop just days before she was found dead in a jail cell last summer, was indicted on charges of perjury by state prosecutors on Wednesday for making false statements regarding his behavior during the incident.
The specific charge, as the New York Times reports, “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.”
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According to a statement by Phoebe Smith, one of the special prosecutors assigned to investigate the case, the “grand jury didn’t believe that” a statement made by Encinia during his testimony about what transpired “was truthful.”
From the Times:
In response to Wednesday’s announcement, social justice advocates said the indictment was a move in the right direction, but not nearly enough.
“This was a small and important step towards justice for Sandra Bland but not holding Encinia accountable for his unlawful and violent arrest of Sandra Bland is an insult to her life and memory,” said Nita Chaudhary, co-founder of the social justice group UltraViolet. “True justice can only be obtained if the DOJ and Attorney General Lynch step in and launch a thorough and full investigation into the practices of the Waller County police department, and ensure that this police department, and EVERY police department in this country is held accountable for brutality against Black women. Failing to do so will send a strong message that the lives of Black women don’t matter.”
Reaction to the news was also being widely expressed on Twitter (see sidebar).
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