The story of Sandra Bland, the 28-year-old who was found dead in a Texas jail cell earlier this month, was given more context on Tuesday when dash camera footage of her arrest by Texas trooper Brian Encinia was released.
The nearly hour-long video shows an opposite portrait of what the 30-year-old officer painted in his police report.
Bland was booked on a third-degree felony for assaulting an officer on Friday, July 10, and reportedly hung herself with a trash bag two days later. She was pulled over by Encinia for failure to use her turn signal near Prairie View A&M, where she was expected to start her new job the following Monday. Footage of the encounter has been examined by police, activists, and even Hollywood directors.
As more information comes to light, here’s what we know about Texas trooper Brian Encinia.
1. Brian Encinia’s Career As A State Trooper Is Fairly New
Encinia ventured into police work after a career in agriculture. He attended Texas A&M University and graduated in 2008 with his bachelor’s in agricultural leadership and development. After working as an ingredient processing supervisor at Blue Bell Creameries for six years (2008-2014) he worked as a chief in the Brenham Fire Department from 2009 to 2013.
He began working for the Department of Public Safety in Waller County as a state trooper and has held the position for a little over a year.
2. Preliminary Investigation Revealed Encinia Violated “Courtesy” Protocols
Texas Department of Public Safety officials informed reporters this week that Encinia violated several traffic stop and courtesy protocols. A DPS spokesman didn’t state what exactly the officer did wrong, but legal experts claim his alleged abrasive behavior could be a factor.
Texas Commission on Jail Standards also slammed the Waller County Jail for inconsistent training and failing to actively check on inmates every hour face-to-face.
Bland’s rights were also violated during the arrest. Citizens are allowed to remain silent after handing over their license and proof of insurance.
3. Key Details About His Initial Encounter With Sandra Bland Were Left Out
After footage of Encinia and Bland’s encounter was released to the public, suspicions of editing and Encinia’s own account of the incident were called out. In the police report, the officer says he asked Bland to exit the vehicle to continue with his investigation.
The video shows he actually opened the door to Bland’s Hyundai after pulling out his stun gun. He also argued with her about her cigarette, another factor leading to their confrontation.
Officer Brian Encina (while writing ticket): You seem very irritated.
Sandra Bland: I am, I really am…..(something slightly unintelligible, about how she was just “getting out of your way”)
Encina: Are you done?
Bland: You asked me what was wrong and I told you….
Encina: Mind putting out your cigarette please?
Bland: I’m in my car, why do I have to put out my cigarette?
Encina: You can step on out now.
Bland: I don’t have to step out of my car.
Encina: Step out of the car….
Bland: You do not have the right….
Encina: Now step out or I will remove you…I’m giving you a lawful order get out of the car now or I’m gonna remove you…
Bland: I’m calling my lawyer.
Encina: I’m gonna yank you out of here….
Bland: Don’t touch me, I’m not under arrest.
Encina: You are under arrest.
Bland: I’m under arrest for what ? For what?…
Encina: Get out of the car now!
Encinia claims Bland was combative and demanded she stop recording the arrest, but laws state that it is legal to record police if it doesn’t interfere with their duties.
4. Encinia’s Digital Presence Has Vanished
It isn’t known if Encinia had a social media presence, but his LinkedIn page was deleted after his name was announced to the public. Bland’s videos discussing her past troubles with PTSD and tweets on the “Black Lives Matter” movement, on the other hand, are still present on the internet.
5. Lawmakers Have Sided With Sandra Bland Over Arrest
“Regardless of the situation, the DPS state trooper has an obligation to exhibit professionalism and be courteous,” said DPS Director Steve McCraw. “That did not happen in this situation.”
When asked by reporters if Sandra Bland caused her own death, West said “no.” He also added that she didn’t deserve to be arrested in the first place.
6. Encinia Is Currently On Administrative Leave
Encinia is on administrative duty until the investigation is complete. The FBI is currently working with Texas Rangers on the case after Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences in Houston labeled Bland’s death a suicide. Her family has hired an independent medical examiner; that autopsy is scheduled to release results in the next few days.
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