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Sandra Bland's Family Says Perjury Charge For Texas Trooper Is Not Enough

By Kate Shepherd in News on Jan 7, 2016 5:43PM

The indictment of the Texas trooper who pulled over Sandra Bland three days before she was found dead in jail is "bittersweet" for her sister.

The perjury charge against Trooper Brian Encinia, who was just fired from his position late Wednesday, is long overdue but it doesn't make up for the loss of Bland, her sister Sharon Cooper told the AP.

The perjury charge carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $4,000 fine, according to ABC News.

Bland, a Naperville native, was found hanging in her jail cell just three days after Encinia pulled her over for an improper lane change in Texas. She was arrested on suspicion of assaulting the trooper and authorities have ruled her death a suicide.

The traffic stop turned into a shouting match and a physical confrontation. Video shows Encinia holding a stun gun and yelling, "I will light you up!" after she refused to get out of the car and forcefully removing her from the car. Bland can be overheard condemning him for slamming her to the ground and hitting her head.

Bland's mother Geneva Reed-Veal told reporters that he should have been charged with assault, battery and false arrest.

"To charge this guy with a misdemeanor, are you kidding me?" Reed-Veal said. "I'm angry, absolutely...That's not justice for me."

Cooper says the encounter with Encinia had a large impact on her sister's fate.

"It could easily have been avoided," she told the AP.

Bland's family has filed a civil rights lawsuit which they hope will shed more light on her case and compel authorities to release important documents, including the Texas Rangers investigation.

True justice for the family will not come from the separate criminal proceedings against the trooper, Reed-Veal said.

"Who is going to prosecute this guy? Is it the same group of folks who selected the grand jury?" she said, according to ABC. "... I don't trust the process."