Perjury charge dropped against officer in Sandra Bland case
HEMPSTEAD, Texas – The perjury charge against an officer involved in the Sandra Bland case has been dropped, according to court records.
The charge against Bland's arresting former Texas Department of Public Safety trooper Brian T. Encinia was dropped after an agreement was reached with the court system.
Encinia has permanently surrendered his Texas Commission on Law Enforcement license. He has agreed to not pursue or engage in employment with law enforcement.
The case was set for trial on Sept. 11, but this week prosecutors and defense attorneys worked out a deal to have the charge dismissed.
The perjury charged stemmed from the 2015 traffic stop in Prairie View in which Encinia pulled over 28-year-old Sandra Bland because he said she changed lanes without using a turn signal.
After a tense exchange, Bland eventually was arrested and placed in the Waller County Jail, where three days later she was found hanged to death. The medical examiner's office ruled it a suicide, but her family and friends dispute that finding.
There were no charges related to her death, but a grand jury indicted Encinia for lying about the reason he said he removed Bland from her vehicle. He stated he removed her from the vehicle to further conduct a safer traffic investigation and the grand jury found that statement to be false.
KPRC2 spoke with the Bland family attorney who said they are deeply disappointed by this turn of events.
"Chante was in the room with the special prosecutors when they promised her they were going to try this case, they were going to see it through to the end. That they'd rather see an outcome that wasn't what they wanted than to not see justice done. That's not what transpired here today and then to not even be notified, makes this more difficult to accept," Bland family attorney Cannon Lambert Sr. said.
As part of the deal for dismissal, Encinia has already given up his peace officer's license,; he cannot seek a job in law enforcement ever again and he is not eligible to request that his arrest record be expunged.
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