Encinia is fired after being charged with misdemeanor perjury on suspicion of lying in the arrest report he filed for the July incident. The director of the Texas Department of Public Safety letter:
I have determined that you have not rebutted the charges set out in the statement of charges.
Encinia is charged with perjury. The prosecutor says the grand jury didn’t believe Encinia’s statement that he took Bland from the car she was driving so he could conduct a safer traffic investigation.
The indictment was issued in reference to the reasoning that (Texas State Trooper Brian Encinia) removed her from her vehicle.
The penalty for perjury, a Class A misdemeanor, is up to a year in jail and up to a $4,000 fine.
Bland’s mother seeks a jury trial and unspecified monetary damages in a wrongful death suit against Encinia; Waller County jail screening officers Elsa Magnus and Oscar Prudente; Waller County; and the DPS. The suit says Encina was previously was reprimanded for “unprofessional conduct” and faulted Texas DPS for improper training, saying the agency should have known he “exhibited a pattern of escalating encounters with the public”, and that he:
demonstrated a deliberate indifference to and conscious disregard for the constitutional rights and safety of Sandra Bland.
In addition, the lawsuit accuses Magnus and Prudente, screening officers at the Waller County Jail, for inadequately monitoring Bland and failing to provide proper medical care when she was found injured in her cell. County lawyer:
We look forward to presenting all the evidence to the Court, in the context of the applicable standards for civil liability, and intend to vigorously defend the case.
Bland’s family issues a statement about their suit, saying it was a last resort after being unable to get enough information about the case.
The bottom line is she never should have been inside the jail cell. Period. [She] knew enough about Jesus that she wouldn’t hang herself, and her feelings as a mother say her daughter didn’t. But anything is possible. Now I’m the first one to tell you, if the facts … show without a doubt that that was the case, I’ll have to be prepared to deal with that.
Texas authorities release several hours of video footage of Bland during her three days in jail to address conspiracy theories that she was dead before arriving there, and threats to personnel. Judge Duhon says the FBI is investigating the most serious threats. The first portions of footage show Bland being taken out of a patrol car at the jail and questioned by a jailer. She’s then briefly placed in a holding cell before her mugshot is taken and she makes a phone call. Duhon:
Sandra Bland was alive and well [until she was found hanging in her cell]…Because of some of the things that’s gone out on social media, this county has been literally attacked.
The Waller County prosecutor investigating Bland’s death says outside attorneys will help with the probe, which likely will go to a county grand jury in August. A former prosecutor and a defense attorney, and a Houston attorney will lead a review committee in asking the “hard questions.” Prosecutor:
There are many lingering questions regarding the death of Sandra Bland.
Perry says that it is clear that the trooper involved did not follow protocol:
Well, obviously, I don’t think they followed protocol. I think that has been from the very early viewing of that camera that there was not proper protocol followed there. And this is going to be investigated, as it should. And transparency is really important in this process. So that all the citizens of the state of Texas know that this has been appropriately investigated, and if it’s found that the individuals made errors, then that that needs to be addressed and addressed in appropriate way
Lynch says Bland’s in-custody death in Texas and the dash-cam video of her arrest underscore long-held fears many black Americans have about interactions with police:
We have a situation where many minority communities for so long have felt that law enforcement was coming in essentially to enforce laws against them, not to protect them. I do think that what has been a important part of the debate in Bland’s death has been the discussions that we’ve seen from community members and police leaders alike…about the importance of training and deescalating incidents.
Hundreds of mourners gather at the suburban Chicago church that Bland attended for many of her 28 years. Relatives and friends recount happy memories of Bland’s faith and social activism, and restate their belief that her death in a Texas jail was not suicide. Bland’s mother:
That baby did not take herself out of here. Her purpose was to stop all injustice against blacks in the South.
Leaders at DuPage remember Bland as a smart woman who sang in the youth choir and participated in the church’s Girl Scout troop. Reverend:
This is someone who had over 50 selfies, healthy self-esteem. Someone who had two job offers. Someone who just talked to her family and knew that help and rescue was on the way. This is someone who knew the Lord and was extremely close with her church family and her sisters, her biological family. None of that adds up to taking one’s life or suicide.
A district attorney says Bland’s death is being treated like a murder investigation. The Texas Rangers and the FBI are investigating her death.
It is very much too early to make any kind of determination that this was a suicide or a murder because the investigations are not complete. This is being treated like a murder investigation.
An eye witness shares a YouTube video showing Bland as she is roughly removed from her car, handcuffed on the ground and arrested on suspicion of assaulting a public servant, a felony charge.
Encinia is suspended pending a full investigation into Bland’s case. He has been re-assigned to “administrative duties” until cleared of any wrongdoing. Officials on the case further detailed that they had uncovered unusual “violations” in procedure by officers involved with Bland’s initial arrest.
We have identified violations of the department’s procedures regarding traffic stops and the department’s courtesy policy. Pending the outcome of the Texas Ranger and FBI investigation into this incident, the employee involved has been assigned administrative duties [and] at the conclusion of this investigation, any violations of protocols will be addressed.
Bland is found dead, hanging from a noose made from a plastic bag, in her cell at the Waller County Jail. While prosecutors rule Bland’s death a suicide, her family and friends maintain that they do not believe she would have taken her own life.
State Trooper Encinia pulls over Bland for failing to signal while turning. During the stop Encia asks Bland to put out her cigarette.
Encina: Would you mind putting out your cigarette, please?
Bland: I’m in my car, why do I have to put out my cigarette?
Encina: Well, you can step on out now
Bland: I don’t have to step out now.
Bland refuses, saying she does not have to step out of the car. Encinia opens the driver’s door and attempts to physically remove Bland from the vehicle.
Encina: I’m going to yank you out of here…I’m going to drag you out of here.
Bland: Don’t touch me, I’m not under arrest.
Encina: You are under arrest!
Bland: I’m under arrest for what? Why am I being apprehended
Encina (pointing Taser at Bland): GET OUT OF THE CAR! I will light you up! NOW!
Bland walks towards the cruiser. Encina tells her to get off the phone. Bland calls him a “pussy ass cop” and berates him. She complains he is hurting her. There is an off-camera altercation that leads to Bland being shoved onto the ground.
Bland: You’re a real man now, you gonna slam me, knock my head in the ground. I got Epilepsy you motherf-cker.
Encina: Good, good.
Bland graduates from Prairie View A&M University.