Trooper who arrested Sandra Bland was disciplined in 2014
Brian Encinia, the Texas trooper who arrested Sandra Bland, had been warned about “unprofessional conduct” in 2014, according to documents obtained by the Associated Press.
The Texas Department of Public Safety released the trooper’s file in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by the AP.
The file reveals that in an evaluation last fall, his supervisor wrote that Encinia was “given a written counseling for unprofessional conduct … for an incident occurring while at a school in Austin.” No further details were available about that incident, the AP reported.
The evaluation also said:
In the future, Trooper Encinia should conduct himself at all times in a manner that will reflect well upon himself, the Department, and the State of Texas. This supervisor will ensure that this is done by meeting periodically with Trooper Encinia.
On July 10, in a case that has since gained national attention, Encinia stopped Bland for failure to use a turn signal.
The interaction, which was captured on a police dashcam video, quickly escalated after Bland refused to put out her cigarette, and the trooper attempted to physically remove her from her vehicle.
At one point during the encounter, Encinia pointed a Taser at Bland and said, “I will light you up.”
Bland was ultimately arrested for assault of a public servant.
Three days after her arrest, a guard found Bland hanging in her jail cell.
Texas officials said Bland used a trash bag to hang herself, and an autopsy classified her death as a suicide. The case is being investigated and will go to a grand jury, which is expected to meet in August.
Walter County District Attorney Elton Mathis said at a July 20 press conference that the circumstances surrounding Bland’s death would be investigated and that the inquiry would be supervised by the FBI.
“It is very much too early to make any kind of determination that this was a suicide or a murder because the investigations are not complete,” Mathis said.
The Texas Department of Public Safety released the full dashcam video of Bland’s arrest following increased public scrutiny of an initial video released by the department, which appeared to loop and contain glitches.
A second video of the arrest, shot by a bystander, shows Bland on the ground, with two officers standing over her. Bland can be heard saying, “You just slammed my head into the ground. Do you not even care about that?”