The Texas Department of Public Safety has formally fired Brian Encinia, the state trooper who was indicted on a perjury charge for the arrest of Sandra Bland. Bland was the black woman whose death made national headlines after she was found dead in a Waller County jail cell three days after her arrest in a traffic stop.
Sandra Bland’s death was ruled a suicide and there was no one indicted in connection with it. A grand jury, however, did not believe his statement that he had pulled Bland out of her car for as a matter of safety after stopping her for not using her turn signals and indicted him for perjury.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Texas DPS Director Steven C. McCraw upheld the decision to terminate Encinia’s employment from the Texas Highway Patrol. After meeting with Encinia to address his possible termination last month, Encinia gave the director no cause to change his preliminary decision because he had not rebutted any of the charges levied against him.
Director McCraw told the press in January that he believed Encinia was to blame for the escalation of her traffic violation to the struggle that led to her arrest.
“It’s always on the trooper,” McCraw said. “We’re accountable for every stop. And the citizen has a right to be objectionable – they can be rude. They can do a lot of things. They can say things, they can do things, and at the end of the day, we have an obligation not to react and be pulled into that. We’ve got to be professional, above that.”
— The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) March 3, 2016