“I want all of you to know Sandy was more than a hashtag. That’s what I want everybody to know. Sandra Bland was more than a hashtag. And we will continue fighting for justice for her.”
These were the passionate words spoken on Dec. 21, 2015, by Geneva Reed-Veal, the mother of Sandra Bland, after a Waller County grand jury failed to indict Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Brian Encinia for any charges related to case of Bland, who died in the Waller County jail, three days after being arrested by Trooper Encinia in a traffic stop last summer.
Fast forward almost two weeks later, and that same Waller County grand jury reconvened to consider whether Trooper Encinia should face any charges. Today, the grand jury indicted Trooper Encinia for perjury after prosecutors’ claim the trooper lied in a written report about the traffic stop.
Dash cam video shows the traffic stop in which Trooper Encinia pulls Bland over after he alleges she made an improper lane change near her alma mater Prairie View A&M University. As the video rolls, Trooper Encinia escalates matters during the traffic stop by verbally and physically confronting Bland, where a struggle takes place before Bland is taken into custody.
Another driver recorded cell phone video of the incident is her telling the officers she is in pain and cannot hear after her head was slammed on the ground by the male arresting officer. Authorities immediately released reports saying Bland hanged herself in her Waller County jail cell – which is about 60 miles northwest of Houston – three days after having her head slammed to the ground and being arrested by Trooper Encinia. Investigators said she was found hanging in her cell. The Medical Examiner ruled her death a suicide.
Trooper Encinia could get up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine if convicted for the Class A Misdemeanor.