Sandra Bland's mother says perjury charge against Texas trooper 'not justice'

CHICAGO -- The mother of a black woman found dead in a Texas jail cell after a traffic stop in July expressed outrage Thursday that the white state trooper who pulled her over was only charged with nothing more than perjury.

See Full Article

And even on that misdemeanour, Sandra Bland's anguished mother said she had little confidence in the prospect of a conviction.

Geneva Reed-Veal told reporters in Chicago the trooper should have been charged with assault, battery and false arrest.

"To charge this guy with a misdemeanour, are you kidding me?" she said of the perjury charge, which carries a maximum of one year in jail and a $4,000 fine. "I'm angry, absolutely. ... That's not justice for me."

Bland, a 28-year-old former resident of Naperville, Illinois, was stopped in July for an improper lane change. The stop quickly escalated into a shouting match and a physical confrontation in which the trooper threatened to use a stun gun. Bland was arrested on suspicion of assaulting the trooper. Authorities say Bland hanged herself in her jail cell three days later.

Trooper Brian Encinia was indicted Wednesday by a grand jury in Texas on allegations that he lied when he claimed in an affidavit that Bland was "combative and unco-operative" after he pulled her over during the traffic stop and ordered her out of her car.

Hours after the indictment, the Texas Department of Public Safety said it would "begin termination proceedings" against Encinia, who has been on paid desk duty since Bland was found dead in her cell.

Reed-Veal said the trooper should not be out on the street "to infect anyone else's life."

The family has filed a civil rights lawsuit that it hopes will shed more light on what happened to Bland and compel authorities to release documents, including a Texas Rangers investigation into the case. Authorities had withheld the Rangers report, citing the grand jury process that has now finished.

Reed-Veal said the separate criminal proceedings in the trooper's case would not bring "true justice."

"Who is going to prosecute this guy? Is it the same group of folks who selected the grand jury?" she said, chuckling in apparent disbelief. "... I don't trust the process."

Encinia was not immediately taken into custody, and an arraignment date has not yet been announced. Encinia could not be reached for comment; a cellphone number for him was no longer working.

Bland's arrest and death provoked national outrage and drew the attention of the Black Lives Matter movement. Protesters questioned officials' assertion that Bland killed herself and linked her to other blacks killed in confrontations with police or who died in police custody, including Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Freddie Gray in Baltimore.

Encinia pulled Bland over on July 10 for making an improper lane change near Prairie View A&M University, her alma mater, where she had just interviewed for and accepted a job.

Dashcam video from Encinia's patrol car shows Encinia drawing his stun gun and telling Bland, "I will light you up!" Bland eventually steps out of the vehicle, and Encinia orders her to the side of the road. 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 wrote in his affidavit that he had Bland exit the vehicle and handcuffed her after she became combative, and that she swung her elbows at him and kicked him in his right shin. Encinia said he then used force "to subdue Bland to the ground" and she continued to fight back. He arrested her, alleging assault on a public servant.

Bland was taken to the Waller County jail in Hempstead, Texas, about 50 miles northwest of Houston. Three days later, she was found hanging from a jail cell partition with a plastic garbage bag around her neck. The grand jury has already declined to charge any sheriff's officials or jailers in her death.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Hardening 'soft targets' won’t stop terror attacks: experts

    World News CTV News
    Security officials around the world are scrambling to harden so-called “soft targets” -- plentiful and vulnerable civilian gathering sites like night clubs, outdoor festivals and outside stadiums -- in the wake of the latest deadly bombing attack. Source
  • Strong winds knock out power to 10s of thousands across B.C.

    Canada News CBC News
    A strong blast of cold windy weather has hit B.C. hard, resulting in power outages in communities far and wide across the province. As of 7:30 p.m. PT, there were over 50,000 customers without power, with significant outages in Prince George, Quesnel, Salmon Arm, Parksville, Pender Island, Oak Bay, Saanich, and throughout the Lower Mainland. Source
  • Families may boycott delayed MMIW inquiry as deadline approaches

    Canada News CTV News
    Families of missing and murdered indigenous women gathered on Parliament Hill Tuesday to voice their anger over the lack of progress in the inquiry. “We’re losing our loved ones even now,” said victim’s family member Jocelyn Wabano-Iahtail. Source
  • Manchester bomber identified as local man of Libyan descent

    World News CTV News
    MANCHESTER, England -- The man who police say blew himself up in a packed concert arena in Manchester, killing 22 people, did not make a strong impression on his neighbours. Residents of the Manchester suburb of modest brick semi-detached homes where 22-year-old Salman Abedi lived remembered seeing the tall, thin young man who often wore traditional Islamic dress. Source
  • 'It was just sheer chaos': Ariana Grande fans describe attack

    World News CTV News
    MANCHESTER, England -- Rihanna Hardy had been excited about seeing Ariana Grande ever since she got her concert ticket as a gift at Christmas. So when the day came, the 11-year-old left school a couple of hours early to make sure to get to Manchester Arena on time. Source
  • Uber admits to underpaying NYC drivers by millions of dollars

    World News CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Uber has admitted to underpaying its New York City drivers tens of millions of dollars for the past 2 1/2 years. The ride-hailing company on Tuesday said each affected driver would get a refund of about $900, which includes interest. Source
  • N.S. boy clothes the homeless to cope with father's tragic death

    Canada News CTV News
    Ken Gordon was known for dropping everything to help anyone who needed it. The 54-year-old was killed at the side of a Nova Scotia highway while checking the cargo in the back of his truck in March. Source
  • Montreal schizophrenia patients face their demons through virtual reality

    Canada News CBC News
    A pilot project at Montreal's Philippe-Pinel Institute has patients with schizophrenia confronting voices that torment them by way of a virtual reality experience. The project, developed by psychiatrist and researcher Alexandre Dumais, allows patients to create computer-generated avatars that look and talk like the demons they face inside their heads. Source
  • OPP officer charged with criminal harassment and 2 counts sexual assault

    Canada News CTV News
    SMITHS FALLS, Ont. - An eastern Ontario provincial police is facing charges in an ongoing domestic investigation. They say the investigation stems from incidents that are alleged to have occurred while the officer was off duty. Source
  • Online threat against Sophie Grégoire Trudeau leads to arrest of Lethbridge woman

    Canada News CBC News
    A Lethbridge, Alta. woman is facing charges after allegedly posting threats online against Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, wife of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The RCMP's Integrated National Security Enforcement Team based in Alberta — K-INSET — was alerted to the threats made against the Canadian government on May 11 and an arrest was made the next day. Source