Perjury charge dropped against arresting officer in Sandra Bland case

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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

WALLER, Texas -- A perjury charge against the arresting officer in the Sandra Bland case has been dropped by a judge in Waller County.

The charge against Brian Encinia was dismissed by State District Judge Albert McCaig based on a motion for dismissal. Encinia also agreed to permanently surrender his TCOLE license, according to court documents.

In January 2016, Encinia was charged with perjury in connection to a traffic stop last summer where Bland wound up arrested for assault and then died three days later in jail. A grand jury indicted Encinia on the misdemeanor count, alleging he lied about why he removed 28-year-old Bland from her vehicle during the July traffic stop. Bland's arrest and death amplified the Black Lives Matter movement with the hashtag #SayHerName.

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A grand jury also decided not to indict any sheriff's officials or jailers in connection to Bland's death. Her family settled a civil suit for $1.9 million.

Statement from Cannon Lambert, attorney for Bland family:

"It's a shame that they didn't take the time to contact the family ahead of their decision to do what they said they would not do. They assured the family they would see this through. This is the reason why the community has a hard time trusting the system."

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Statement from Chip Lewis, attorney for Encinia:

"The perjury charge against Brian Encinia has been dismissed by state District Judge Albert McCaig in Waller County based on a motion for dismissal by the prosecution.

Brian and his family appreciate the thoughtful review by the prosecutors. Dismissal was the right thing to do. The Encinias will remain forever grateful to their family, friends and members of the law enforcement community for all their support.

Brian and his family will have no further comment on this matter."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.