HOUSTON --The state trooper who arrested Sandra Bland last year pleaded "not guilty" to the misdemeanor charge of perjury Tuesday afternoon.
A grand jury previously decided to charge Trooper Brian Encinia with perjury for allegedly lying about his reason for pulling Bland out of her car last summer.
Bland's mother, Geneva Reed-Veal, and Bland's older sister attended the hearing in Waller County. This was the first time they saw Encinia in person since he arrested Sandra Bland.
"We need to show that family misses what was taken away," Reed-Veal said. "And we need to make sure that people know there has to be some accountability here and we want to see that to the end."
Reed-Veal said she has forgiven Encinia.
"I saw a creature of God who I am having a disagreement with," Reed-Veal said.
Attorney Chip Lewis is representing Encinia.
"This charge represents a fundamental misunderstanding of law enforcement procedure," Lewis said. "It's unfortunate that we are here. We understand why we are here, in a temptest of emotion fueled by a media frenzy of a very tragic situation."
Lewis maintains Encinia did not violate any law during his encounter with Bland.
Encinia attorney said he did nothing wrong. Hearing re-set to May 17 #abc13— Kaitlin McCulley (@KaitlinMcCulley) March 22, 2016
Encinia will reappear before Waller County Judge McCaig on May 17.