A federal judge on Thursday heard arguments over whether a wrongful death lawsuit against the state trooper who pulled over Sandra Bland should be delayed until after his criminal trial, according to The Associated Press.
Seth Dennis, an assistant Texas attorney general, told U.S. District Judge David Hittner that the trooper, Brian Encinia, who faces a perjury charge in the case, deserves a fair criminal trial on the misdemeanor.
“Let the criminal case play out,” Dennis told the judge.
From The AP:
The family of Bland, a 28-year-old black woman, sued after Bland died last summer in a jail following her arrest stemming from a confrontational traffic stop 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 were killed in confrontations with police or died in police custody.
Lawyers for Bland’s mother, Geneva Reed-Veal, said they oppose any delay in the lawsuit trial, now set for January. Her lead attorney, Cannon Lambert, said only “extraordinary circumstances” should merit a trial delay and state lawyers were unable to show him any in this case.
Encinia, although indicted last month, has not yet been arraigned on the perjury charge. He’s accused of lying about his July 10, 2015, confrontation with Bland.
Hittner told lawyers that he wants to proceed with the civil case, but gave no timetable for a decision on the request for a delay, the report says.
Encinia has been suspended with pay since the Texas Department of Public Safety announced plans to terminate him after he was indicted on the perjury charge.
SOURCE: Seattle Post-Intelligencer | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty