Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Brian Encinia – the trooper who arrested Sandra Bland – has been indicted on perjury charges by a Waller County grand jury.
Encinia could face a year in jail and a $4,000 fine if convicted.
The charge stems from a statement Encinia made in his report of the arrest, in which he said he pulled Bland out of her car to continue the investigation.
“They just didn’t believe it … a warrant will be issued and we’ll go from there,” special prosecutor, Shawn McDonald, said.
In December, a grand jury convened to review the circumstances surrounding Bland’s arrest and subsequent death. However, they declined to indict any of the jail staff or members of the Waller County Sheriff’s Office.
Bland was arrested during a traffic stop in July. Three days later, she was found hanging from a noose made of a plastic garbage bag in her jail cell. Her death was ruled a suicide by medical examiners, but her family didn’t believe it and the death sparked protests nationwide.
Encinia stopped Bland for an improper lane change. Dashcam video showed a confrontational encounter between the two, with Encinia at one point brandishing a stun gun and yelling, “I will light you up!”
After the video surfaced, DPS Director Steve McCraw said Encinia violated department standards and placed him on administrative duty.
Bland’s relatives have also filed a wrongful death suit in federal court against Encinia, DPS, Waller County and jailers Elsa Magnus and Oscar Prudente. A trial date is set for January 2017.