The former Texas state trooper who arrested Sandra Bland during a 2015 traffic stop agreed never to work again in law enforcement in exchange for having a misdemeanor perjury charge against him dismissed, CNN reports.
Under the deal announced on Wednesday, Brian Encinia will turn over his police credentials and sign a sworn statement that permanently ends his law enforcement career. He was the only officer to face criminal charges in connection with Bland’s death while in police custody.
News of the deal shocked Bland’s family. Their attorney, Cannon Lambert, said the special prosecutor promised the family that he would take the case to trial.
“The prosecutor didn’t even reach out to the family to notify them that they were looking to cut this deal,” Lambert said, according to CNN.
He added: “What was gained — him never being an officer anymore, would have been gained by a conviction. They gave up a chance to seek justice and got nothing.”
Bland’s sister, Shante Needham, who lives in the Chicago area, said the family expected to travel to Texas in September for the trial, the Houston Chronicle reported.
“Why? Why? Why? Why did you cut him a deal when you (the prosecutor) sat in our faces and you seen our pain and you told us you were going to take it to court?” she asked.
Phoebe Smith, a member of the prosecution team, said she sympathizes with Bland’s family but didn’t want to gamble on how a jury would decide the case, according to The Chronicle. She added that the team achieved the of permanently taking Encinia off the street.
Encinia, who was fired last year, stopped Bland in July 2015 for allegedly failing to use a turn signal. A dashcam video shows that a routine traffic stop escalated when Bland refused to put out her cigarette. Encinia dragged Bland, 28, out of her vehicle and threatened to Taser her. Several days after her arrest, Bland was found hanging in her jail cell, which authorities ruled a suicide.
A grand jury indicted Encinia for making false statements about the arrest. In a sworn document filed after the arrest, the former trooper claimed that he removed Bland from her car to conduct a safe traffic investigation.
Encinia’s lawyer, Chip Lewis, is pleased with the deal. He said it was unlikely that the ex-trooper would work in law enforcement because Encinia has been living with police protection after receiving numerous death threats over the incident.
31 Black Women Who Died In Police Custody
1. Kathryn Johnston, 92Source:Getty 1 of 26
2. Tarika Wilson, 26Source:Getty 2 of 26
3. Shereese Francis, 30Source:Getty 3 of 26
4. Shantel Davis, 23Source:Getty 4 of 26
5. Alesia Thomas, 35Source:Getty 5 of 26
6. Malissa Williams, 30Source:Getty 6 of 26
7. Darnesha Harris, 17Source:Getty 7 of 26
8. Shelly Frey, 27Source:Getty 8 of 26
9. Miriam Carey, 34Source:Getty 9 of 26
10. Yvette Smith, 47Source:Getty 10 of 26
11. Michelle Cusseaux, 50Source:Getty 11 of 26
12. Aura Rosser, 40Source:Getty 12 of 26
13. Tanisha Anderson, 37Source:Getty 13 of 26
14. Eleanor Bumpurs, 66Source:Getty 14 of 26
15. Natasha McKenna, 37Source:Getty 15 of 26
16. Janisha Fonville, 20Source:Getty 16 of 26
17. Meagan Hockaday, 26Source:Getty 17 of 26
18. Alexia Christian, 25Source:Getty 18 of 26
19. Sandra Bland, 28Source:Getty 19 of 26
20. Gynnya McMillen, 16Source:Getty 20 of 26
21. Symone Marshall, 22Source:Getty 21 of 26
22. Korryn Gaines, 23Source:Getty 22 of 26
23. Deborah Danner, 66Source:Getty 23 of 26
24. Alteria Woods, 21Source:Getty 24 of 26
25. Charleena Lyles, 30Source:Getty 25 of 26
26. Cariann Denise Hithon, 22Source:Getty 26 of 26
Prosecutor Drops Perjury Charge Against Ex-Trooper In Sandra Bland Case was originally published on newsone.com