Charge Dropped Against Trooper in Sandra Bland Case

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A judge dropped the perjury charge against the Texas Department of Public Safety trooper who arrested Sandra Bland in 2015 after he stopped her for failing to signal a lane change, The Texas Tribune reports. Bland’s death in a jail cell three days later ignited national outrage. The now-fired trooper, Brian Encinia, was indicted on a charge of perjury last year for allegedly lying in the report he filed after Bland’s arrest. Judge Albert McCaig dropped the charges at the prosecution’s request. The prosecution asked for dismissal after Encinia agreed to give up his police license and never seek another job in law enforcement.

In July 2015, Encinia stopped Bland, a 28-year-old black woman from Illinois, for not using her turn signal when changing lanes. Dashboard camera video of the traffic stop shows Encinia asking Bland to get out of the car after she refused to put out a cigarette, and, when she didn’t comply, opening her car door, threatening to drag her out, telling her, “I will light you up.” In his report, Encinia wrote he had Bland exit the vehicle “to further conduct a safe traffic investigation.” Focusing on that statement, a grand jury indicted Encinia last January on a misdemeanor perjury charge. Texas lawmakers this year passed a law in Bland’s name. The measure, which goes into effect in September, will mandate that county jails divert people with mental health and substance abuse issues toward treatment.

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