Perjury Charge In Sandra Bland Case Means Justice System Fine, Nothing To See Here

see? totally routine

[contextly_sidebar id="0MIqCtMLPGyH5hu4KunBHx5hy4jSap5m"]A few weeks ago, we got the entirely expected, yet still incredibly depressing, news that no cop would be indicted for Sandra Bland's death, because haha suckers, cops pretty much never do get indicted. And let's face it: the grand jury had many many other, albeit far stupider, options to consider, like that Sandra Bland killed herself because she was high on weed. Motherfucker, people on weed are too lazy and chilled out to kill themselves.

Fast forward to Wednesday, when apparently the grand jury decided that they better throw us all some sort of bone in this whole awful mess. They scrounged around in the couch cushions in the grand jury room and pooled together some dryer lint, old aspirin, and small change to come up with a perjury charge against Brian T. Encinia, the trooper who pulled her over. Not assault, not falsifying his police report. Perjury.

What's that? You want to know the penalty for perjury in Texas? Why, it's a Class A misdemeanor in Texas, so Encinia might have to pony up a whopping $4,000. Theoretically he could serve up to a year in jail, but you must live at a very, very high level of naivete if you think that this dude will see the inside of a cell.

So what tripped up the trooper? That pesky dash cam video, of course.

The charge stemmed from a one-page affidavit that Trooper Encinia filed with jail officials justifying the arrest of Ms. Bland [...]

The trooper wrote that he removed Ms. Bland from her car to more safely conduct a traffic investigation, but “the grand jury found that statement to be false,” a special prosecutor, Shawn McDonald, said.

A police dashboard-camera video of the episode shows an escalating confrontation after Ms. Bland refuses Trooper Encinia’s request to put out a cigarette. At one point, Trooper Encinia says he will forcibly remove Ms. Bland from her car and threatens her with a Taser, saying, “I will light you up.”

That isn't the clearest explanation, in large part because grand jury deliberations are seeekrit, so we're all left to speculate as to why they found his statement false. At root, it doesn't sound all that different from what actually happened, even though what actually happened was shitty. The dash cam video does show that he removed her from the car eventually, so why might that be his big lie? Over at The Atlantic, they have some thoughts, and since they've clearly put more thought into it than we're going to, let's steal their speculating.

[In his statement] Encinia stated he was giving a “lawful order,” and drivers typically have to comply with any such order, for any reason. That’s where the statement comes in. Perhaps jurors felt that Encinia’s decision to drag Bland from the car was punitive, rather than intended to allow him to “further conduct a safe traffic investigation.” After all, by the time he removed her, he’d already stated that he was going to issue a warning; what more investigation was required?

Right? The white people among us will note that when we get dinged for a tail light out or no turn signal or whatever, we don't even have to get out of the car. They just give us that little lecture and send us on our way. And certainly if you have a real dickbag of a cop who wants to put the screws to you and is going to actually issue a ticket for that failure to use the turn signal, they don't actually need to do much investigating, and certainly not the sort that involves getting you out of your car.

Sorry, Sandra Bland, you are dead because you had the goddamn gall to drive while black and didn't feel like bowing down to some hopped-up little bantam rooster state trooper. But hey! He's losing his job, and he might have to pay a fine, so justice is totally totally served.

[NYT/The Atlantic]


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