Officer Involved In Mysterious Death Of Sandra Bland Officially Cleared Of Perjury Charges

Brian Encinia will never work in law enforcement ever again, but details surrounding the death of Sandra Bland remain unclear.

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28-year-old Sandra Bland was a known Black Lives Matter activist. Credit: Vice

On July 2015, Sandra Bland was arrested in Prairie View, Houston during a routine traffic stop — she had failed to signal a lane change. As video footage shows, former police officer Encinia aggressively slammed Bland to the ground during the arrest. Encinia was never charged with assault.

After three days in jail, 28-year-0ld Bland was found dead in her cell. Although medical examiners declared that she had committed suicide, her family admittedly disagrees, stating Bland would never do that. They claimed that she had only just recently moved from Chicago to Texas, to work in her dream job at Prairie View A&M University.

The case took a twist in July 2016 when fellow Prairie View officer Michael Kelly revealed he had been commanded to remain quiet regarding certain aspects of the time Bland spent in custody. Kelly said that Sandra came in with bruises in her forehead. He also explained that Encinia, along with his supervisor, decided to charge Bland of assaulting a public servant in order to justify the detainment.

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Brian Encinia and Sandra Bland. Credit: Vice

After the incident, Encinia stated that he pulled the Bland out of the car only so he could more safely conduct her to stop. In connection with this description of the 2015 incident, he was indicted on a perjury charge by a Waller County grand jury.

Two months after the indictment, the Texas Department of Public Safety decided to fire Encinia from the institution.

Subsequently, the perjury charges were dismissed in exchange for him giving up to his law enforcement credentials for life. Phoebe Smith — a private attorney the Waller County hired — said “We dismissed it based on the fact that he permanently surrendered his license. The bottom line is we never wanted him to be a police officer again”.

Waller County and the State of Texas agreed to pay a 1.9 million dollar settlement to the family of Sandra Bland. 

As a result, this month Texas Governor Greg Abbot signed into law the “Sandra Bland Act”. This law, which will take effect on September 1st, requires independent investigations of deaths that take place inside jailhouses, and mandates police officers to receive at least 40 hours of crisis intervention and tension management.

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