Sandra Bland

When the Law Lies

Sandra Bland death


In January a Waller County, Texas, grand jury indicted state trooper Brian Encinia for perjury in his report on a traffic stop that ended with the driver, Sandra Bland, in handcuffs. The Texas Department of Public Safety then announced that it will "begin termination proceedings" against the cop, who has been on desk duty since Bland died, apparently by suicide, at the Waller County jail three days after the arrest.

Dashcam video of the July 10 incident shows that Encinia, who pulled Bland over for changing lanes without signaling, lost his temper after she declined his request that she put out her cigarette. That was the point at which he ordered her out of her car, informed her that she was under arrest, grabbed her, and threatened her with a Taser. But in his arrest report Encinia claimed he "had Bland exit the vehicle to further conduct a safe traffic investigation."

The grand jurors "just didn't believe it," special prosecutor Darrell Jordan said following the indictment. "A warrant will be issued, and we'll go from there." The perjury charge is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a maximum fine of $4,000.