Trooper in Sandra Bland Traffic Stop Formally Fired
AUSTIN, Texas — A Texas trooper indicted over his arrest of a black woman who was later found dead in jail has been formally fired, three months after his bosses first announced they would do so, state officials said Wednesday.
Former Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Brian Encinia can still appeal the decision to fire him, which came after a grand jury indicted him on a perjury charge in December. He’s accused of lying about his July 2015 arrest of Sandra Bland and their confrontational traffic stop that was caught on dashcam video.
Encinia met last month with Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw, but their conversation gave the agency leader no reason “to alter my preliminary decision,” according to a termination letter signed by Encinia on Wednesday.
Encinia’s attorney, Larkin Eakin, did not immediately return a phone message. He has previously called the indictment unjustified and said Encinia was looking out for his own safety.
Bland’s family sued after the 28-year-old black woman died last summer in jail following her arrest on the outskirts of Houston. Her death was ruled a suicide.
The case provoked national outrage and drew the attention of the Black Lives Matter movement, with protesters linking Bland to other black suspects who died in confrontations with police or while in police custody.