Sandra Bland Case: Perjury Charge Dropped Against Ex-Trooper Brian Encinia
Texas state trooper Brian Encinia points a Taser as he orders Sandra Bland out of her vehicle, in this still image captured from the police dash camera video from the traffic stop of Bland's vehicle in Prairie View, Texas on July 10, 2015.Texas Department of Public Safety / Reuters
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Prosecutors have dropped the single charge against the Texas state trooper involved in the arrest of driver Sandra Bland, whose jail cell death in July 2015 became a flash point in the Black Lives Matter movement and led to a state law in her name.
With Wednesday's dismissal of the misdemeanor perjury case against Brian Encinia, the ex-trooper agreed to surrender his peace officer license and not work in law enforcement, said special prosecutors Pheobe Smith and Chad Dick. The case must also permanently remain on his record.
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"We understand that this is far from a perfect solution, and that many people will feel that this is an inadequate punishment, while others feel that charges should have never been filed," the prosecutors said in a statement. "This is a solution that will guarantee that Mr. Encinia will never be a licensed law enforcement officer again."
Encinia was the only official to be charged criminally in the Bland case. Prosecutors said he lied in a sworn affidavit when he wrote that Bland, 28, had been "combative and uncooperative" after he stopped her on the outskirts of Houston and that he removed her from her car to conduct a safer traffic investigation.
Dashcam video later released showed that Encinia drew his stun gun and told Bland, "I will light you up!" after she initially refused to get out of her car.
The family of Bland previously criticized the lone perjury charge, which carried a maximum of one year in jail and a $4,000 fine, as "not justice."
The resolution of the case comes almost two weeks after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed the Sandra Bland Act, which takes effect in September and includes requiring county jails to send people with signs of mental health and substance abuse issues into treatment.
Erik Ortiz is a staff writer for NBC News focusing on racial injustice and social inequality.