The Texas trooper involved in the arrest of a Black woman later found dead in her jail cell has been fired, according to multiple reports.
Last year, Sandra Bland was headed from Illinois to Texas for a job interview when she was pulled over near Houston by officer Brian Encinia for an illegal lane change.
After an altercation with Encinia, Bland, 28, was arrested and later found hanging her jail cell. Her death was ruled a suicide.
Encinia allegedly lied about the details of the arrest. His testimony went counter to the dashcam video that went viral following the news of Bland’s suspicious death. From the video, onlookers could see that the officer violently dragged her from her vehicle.
“Encinia is now no longer a paid employee and will remain that way even if he appeals his dismissal to the state’s Public Safety Commission,” Department of Public Safety spokesman Tom Vinger said.
During the initial investigation, Waller County jail investigator Marc Langdon reported that Bland was still alive after being removed from a makeshift noose made from a trash bag. According to his report, a paramedic declared her dead at 9.06 a.m. However, the autopsy report said the noose was removed at 12:14 p.m.
In mid-February, Bland’s family said authorities were not cooperating with the them in regards to releasing police records. The family was not convinced that she would commit suicide.
Encinia met last month with department of public safety director Steve McCraw, but their conversation gave the agency leader no reason “to alter my preliminary decision,” according to a termination letter signed by Encinia on Wednesday.