Brian Encinia entered his innocent plea on Tuesday evening with his attorney. The 30-year-old was indicted on perjury charges for allegedly lying about Bland’s arrest.
Encinia arrested Bland in July 2015; the 28-year-old was found dead in her jail cell three days later. Her death resulted in massive protests and rallies calling for justice. Officials determined Bland’s death was a suicide by hanging and no one has been arrested. However, Encinia was indicted on the perjury charge in January after dash cam footage showed him threatening Bland as he pulled her over for a traffic violation.
“Video of the stop shows Encinia drawing his stun gun and telling Bland, ‘I will light you up!’ She can later be heard off-camera screaming that he’s about to break her wrists and complaining that he knocked her head into the ground.
“Encinia’s affidavit stated he ‘removed her from her vehicle to further conduct a safer traffic investigation,’ but grand jurors found that statement to be false, according to prosecutors.”
Encinia also claimed Bland was “combative and uncooperative” during the traffic stop. A preliminary investigation previously revealed Encinia violated the Texas Department of Public Safety’s procedures. The perjury charge can result in a $4,000 fine and up to a year in jail.
The former trooper’s next court hearing is scheduled for May 17. Bland’s family has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit expected to go to trial next year.
SOURCE: NPR | VIDEO CREDIT: Inform | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty