DIRECTOR

DPS Upholds Decision to Terminate Trooper Who Stopped Sandra Bland

Sandra Bland, 28, died in jail last summer three days after being arrested. Authorities ruled her death a suicide.

The Texas state trooper who stopped Sandra Bland last year has been formally fired, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Bland, 28, was a black woman from Illinois who died last summer in the Waller County jail three days after being arrested. Authorities ruled her death a suicide.

Brian Encinia, the trooper who arrested her, was charged with perjury after dashcam video appeared to show him yelling at Bland and escalating their confrontation.

Director Steven McCraw terminated Encinia on Jan. 28 "for reasons related to the trooper’s traffic stop of Sandra Bland on July 10, 2015."

The Department of Public Safety upheld Encinia's termination Wednesday.

"Following the arrest of Sandra Bland by Encinia last year in Prairie View, Texas, and the subsequent in-custody death at the Waller County Jail, the Texas Rangers immediately conducted an investigation into both incidents to determine if any criminal violation had occurred. The results of the investigation were turned over to the Waller County special prosecutors and ultimately the grand jury. On January 6, 2016, following the Waller County grand jury indictment of Encinia, DPS announced its intentions to begin termination proceedings to discharge him from the department."

Following his dismissal, Encinia requested a meeting and met with the director on Feb. 5.

"After thorough consideration, Director McCraw issued a letter of final termination," the DPS said Wednesday.

Encinia may still appeal the director's final decision to the Texas Public Safety Commission — a five member board that oversees the DPS — who may then convene a public hearing on the termination.

His attorney has said the indictment isn't justified and that Encinia was looking out for his own safety.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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