Sandra Bland's family reacts to trooper indictment, firing

HOUSTON (WLS) -- Sandra Bland's family is reacting to the news that the Texas state trooper who arrested Bland during a traffic stop has been charged and will be fired.

"I feel and our family feels it's long overdue. It's something that should have happened at the inception of this case and this entire situation," said Sharon Cooper.

Instead, the process to fire Trooper Brian Encinia started Wednesday after a grand jury charged Encinia with perjury, alleging he lied - in writing - about Sandra Bland's traffic stop.

"I feel like it's acknowledgement for some of his actions, but not the totality of it. And that's the problem that we have," Cooper said.

"It's an assault on her and he should have been indicted for a lot more than perjury," said Larry Rogers Jr., attorney for the Bland family.

Trooper Encinia wrote in a probable cause affidavit that Bland was "combative and uncooperative." A grand jury indicted him for what unfolded.

"The indictment was issued in reference to the reason he removed her from her vehicle," Special Prosecutor Shawn McDonald said.

The reason, Trooper Encinia wrote, was to "conduct a safer traffic investigation." The grand jury found that to be false. Outside the Texas courthouse, two dozen protesters showed up.

"To give him a perjury, he did more than that. He assaulted her. She should have never been pulled over or arrested in the first place," protester Jinaki Muhammad said.

Bland died three days later inside the Waller County jail. The coroner ruled her death a suicide after she was founding hanging in her cell. But now that the grand jury investigation is over, the family hopes to learn more.

"It's the end of their investigation, but it also puts in a position like we have wanted to from the onset, to get the evidentiary information that we have asked for from the very beginning," Cooper said.

Trooper Encinia's perjury charge is a misdemeanor. He could face on year in jail and up to a $4,000 fine.

Bland's sister says - in the family's opinion - that punishment does not fit the crime.

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