WALLER COUNTY, Texas — A charge of perjury against a Texas state trooper is far from justice, the angry mother of Sandra Bland told reporters Thursday.
Geneva Reed-Veal, whose daughter died in a jail cell three days after her arrest following a contentious traffic stop, was upset that trooper Brian Encinia was charged just with perjury.
“And to charge this guy with a misdemeanor … are you kidding me?” she said at a news conference in Chicago, where the family lives. “The world is looking at this going, ‘Are you serious?’ There is nobody that believes this is right for the crime.”
On Wednesday, a grand jury in Waller County, Texas, indicted Encinia on a perjury charge. The Texas Department of Public Safety announced later in the day it had started the process of firing the trooper.
Reed-Veal believes Encinia should face other charges like assault, battery and/or false arrest.
Encinia, who turned himself in on Thursday and paid a $2,500 bail, hasn’t commented on the case.
In an arrest affidavit he said Bland was out of control, calling her “combative and uncooperative.”
Reed-Veal and attorney Cannon Lambert said Bland was slapped during her July 10 traffic stop for a lane change violation and that is why Encinia should face a battery charge.
In the audio from a dashcam recording of the arrest, Encinia can be heard telling Bland, “Get out or I will remove you. I am giving you a lawful order.”
Bland, who was in Texas for a new job, says she is calling her lawyer and the trooper reaches in saying he will jerk her out if he has to do so.
The video also shows the Texas trooper threaten Bland with a Taser and say: “I will light you up!”
Lambert said that should have led to a charge of assault.
Encinia wrote he removed Bland from the car to conduct a safer traffic investigation. The grand jury didn’t believe him.
After her arrest, Bland, 28, was taken to the Waller County jail where police said she used a trash bag to hang herself. Her family has said there is no way she would want to kill herself.
The case caught national media attention and raised questions of excessive police force and the role of race in police interactions.
“No one should be OK with this,” Reed-Veal said Thursday. “To think that this (perjury indictment) would be just put out here and we would be OK and say alright, it’s done. No.”
Reed-Veal called Encinia a fall guy, saying others involved in Bland’s arrest and detention also should have been charged.
Encinia faces up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine.AlertMe