The Texas state trooper who remained on payroll after he was indicted in the arrest of Sandra Bland — a Black woman who died in a jail cell three days after she was taken into custody last summer — has been formally terminated.
Trooper Brian Encinia, who was caught on dash cam video roughly handling Bland after she refused to put out her cigarette, was indicted in January on a perjury charge after a grand jury found he lied about the confrontation. Encinia was accused of “failing to act courteously during his July traffic stop with Bland, prolonging her detention” and “violating general orders,” the Huffington Post writes.
Hours after the indictment was announced in January, the Texas Department of Public Safety said it would “begin termination proceedings.” Encinia has remained on paid desk duty since.
In an official termination letter dated March 1, Public Safety Director Steven McCraw stated that Encinia did not rebut “the charges set out in the statement of charges of January 28, 2016.”
“No cause has been presented to alter my preliminary decision,” McCraw said. “Therefore, it is now my decision that you be discharged from the Texas Department of Public Safety effective at 5:00p.m., upon the date you receive this letter.”
Bland, who was initially pulled over for failure to signal, was found hanged in her jail cell three days after the violent confrontation. The county coroner ruled her death a suicide.
A federal judge is determining if the wrongful death lawsuit filed by Bland’s family will be delayed until after Encinia’s criminal trial.