Police Abuse

Texas Suspends Officer That Arrested Sandra Bland—Officer Violated 'Courtesy Policy'

Bland was pulled over for allegedly not signaling a lane switch, was arrested for allegedly assaulting a public servant, and died in jail three days later.



The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) officer, Brian Encinia, who pulled Sandra Bland over for allegedly not using her signal indicator in an interaction that eventually escalated and ended with the officer arresting Bland for "assaulting a public servant," has been placed on administrative duty after news of her death in jail earlier this week, ruled a suicide by the coroner, made national headlines.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports:

Authorities called a news conference to assure the public that the investigation will be thorough and said they welcomed the involvement of the FBI.

"I have every confidence that this investigation will be handled in a completely open and transparent manner," [Waller County Judge Trey] Duhon said. "We will make sure the full sunlight is shed on all the circumstances of this incident."

Waller County officials said they have been besieged by inquiries from national and international media and seemed to be caught off guard by accusations on social media that officials could not be trusted.

"I want people to know that this isn't going to be swept under the rug," Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis told the American-Statesman. "The right thing is going to happen."

DPS said Encinia was placed on administrative duty for violating procedures and the department's "courtesy policy," but won't say exactly what it was Encinia did that violated DPS policies and procedures.

As I wrote this morning:

Whether or not foul play was involved in Bland's death, police have not explained why she would have been pulled out of her car over a traffic stop that should have only led to a simple citation in the first place. Millions of people use the roads every day, and it shouldn't be strange, or something police can't handle, that some of these people might be upset when they're pulled over for an alleged infraction that's going to cost them money.

The investigation is being run by the Texas Rangers with the FBI joining in. The investigation ought to cover what happened to Bland from the moment she was pulled over for allegedly failing to use a signal until her death in a jail cell. Going from a government road to a government cage when you're responsible for no deaths, no injuries, no harm, is a problem.