The former Texas Department of Public Safety trooper who arrested Sandra Bland in 2015 has been cleared of a perjury charge.
Bland's arrest in July 2015 kicked off a series of events that ended with Bland dead and outraged protesters from around the country pushing for more information about why she was ever arrested in the first place. Many of those questions were aimed at the arresting officer, Brian Encinia.
Encinia pulled Bland over because she changed lanes without signaling. Encinia took down her information and gave her a ticket. As the trooper handed Bland the ticket, he commented that she seemed irritated. When Bland refused to put out her lit cigarette, he pulled Bland out of the car and arrested her, charging her with resisting arrest. Bland committed suicide in the Waller County Jail three days later.
Encinia, who was later fired, was indicted on a charge of perjury for allegedly lying in the report he filed about Bland's arrest in January 2016. Before dashboard camera video of the incident was made public, Encinia claimed Bland had assaulted him by kicking him in the shin and swinging her elbows. He claimed that he pulled Bland from her car to "further conduct a safe traffic investigation."
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He was indicted on a Class A misdemeanor charge of perjury because the grand jury didn't believe his explanation, Darrell Jordan, one of the five special prosecutors on the case, said at the time the indictment was announced.
Waller County District Judge Albert McCaig dismissed the case at the request of the prosecution. Prosecutors agreed to drop the charge if Encinia agreed to give up his police license and to never seek another job in law enforcement.
“Brian and his family appreciate the thoughtful review by the prosecutors. Dismissal was the right thing to do. The Encinias will remain forever grateful to their family, friends and members of the law enforcement community for all their support,” said Chip Lewis, Encinia’s attorney, in a statement announcing the dropped charge.