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Texas Trooper Who Arrested Sandra Bland Charged With Perjury

By Emma G. Gallegos in News on Jan 6, 2016 11:13PM

Remembering Sandra Bland's Facebook page

The Texas trooper who pulled over Sandra Bland for a routine traffic violation—three days before she was found dead in her jail—has been indicted by a Texas grand jury.

Trooper Brian Encinia has been charged with perjury for allegedly lying about how he removed 28-year-old Sandra Bland from her vehicle, according to the Associated Press. The charge is a misdemeanor violation, and it carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

This is the same grand jury that passed on charging any sheriff's officials or jailers in Bland's death, which the coroner ruled a suicide.

Bland, originally from Naperville, was en route to a new job in Texas in July when she was pulled over by Encinia for not signaling while changing lanes. A confrontation followed after Encinia ordered Bland to put out her cigarette. The video shows the trooper holding a stun gun and yelling, "I will light you up!" after Bland refused to get out of the car. Dashboard footage shows Encinia forcefully removing Bland from her car. Off-screen Bland can be heard condemning the cop for slamming her to the ground and hitting her head.

Bland was jailed in Hempstead, about 50 miles outside Houston, after being arrested because she couldn't raise $500 for bail. Three days after her arrest she was found hanging from a jail cell partition with a plastic garbage bag around her neck.

Encinia has been on paid desk duty since Bland's death. He also faces a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Bland's family, who disputes the official version of events that states she was suicidal.