WALLER COUNTY, Texas - DPS trooper Brian Encinia turned himself in Thursday afternoon and was released on bond, a day after a grand jury indicted him on a misdemeanor charge for allegedly lying about the circumstances of his confrontation with Sandra Bland.
Waller County Sheriff Glenn Smith said Encinia surrendered to the Texas Rangers, who then transported him to the Waller County Jail. Encinia posted a $2,500 bond and left with the Rangers.
A grand jury indicted Encinia Wednesday on a misdemeanor perjury charge for allegedly lying about the circumstances of his arrest of Bland last summer. If convicted he would face up to one year in prison and a $4,000 fine.
Messages left with the trooper's attorney Thursday have not been returned.
The 28-year-old Bland was stopped in July for an improper lane change. She was arrested on suspicion of assaulting the trooper. Authorities say Bland hanged herself in her jail cell several days later.
According to the indictment, Encinia reported that he removed Bland from her vehicle in order to conduct a safer traffic stop, but the indictment alleges the real reason he removed Bland was because he was angry when she refused to put our her cigarette after he asked her.
The Texas Department of Public Safety announced after the indictment that it would begin the process of firing Encinia.
Bland's family held a press conference Thursday morning.
An emotional Geneva Reed-Veal, Bland's mother, told reporters in Chicago that the trooper should have been charged with battery and false arrest, adding that she has no confidence in the investigation and justice process.
"There should have been much more" from the grand jury, she said. "I'm angry, absolutely," she said of the misdemeanor perjury charge, which carries a maximum of one year in jail and a $4,000 fine.
"That's not justice for me," she said.
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