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    Trooper Who Arrested Sandra Bland Indicted for Perjury and Fired

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    The Texas state trooper who violently arrested Sandra Bland, an activist whose death caused nationwide protest last summer when she was found dead in her jail cell, was indicted by a grand jury on Wednesday for perjury. Following the indictment, it was announced that he has been fired from the state police.

    Trooper Brian Encinia was charged with the misdemeanor for allegedly lying about how he removed Bland from her vehicle during the traffic stop. The same grand jury opted not to indict any sheriff's officials or jailers in Bland's death last month.

    Bland was pulled over for an improper lane change on July 10, and the interaction quickly escalated to the officer brandishing his taser and threatening “I will light you up,” when Bland refused to put her cigarette out and get out of the vehicle.

    Bland was then held in a Waller County jail for three days, unable to come up with the $500 bail. On the third day, she was found hanging in her cell with a plastic garbage bag around her neck.

    The woman’s family and supporters have questioned the official suicide ruling, noting that she was about to start a new career. She had also been critical of police on social media.

    Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis has maintained that there is no evidence of foul play, but a lawyer for the family is requesting all the evidence from the grand jury proceedings to conduct their own investigation.

    Encinia had been on paid administrative duty since Bland’s death, and is currently facing a wrongful death lawsuit by Bland’s family. The case is set to go to trial in January 2017.

    The perjury charge carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $4,000 fine. The grand jury will not be issuing any more indictments and have concluded their investigation into the case.


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    Perjury, Grand Jury, Brian Encinia, Sandra Bland, Texas, Waller County
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