Tuesday, January 12, 2016

A start for some justice for Sandra Bland

I meant to mention this right when it happened, but better late than never. The Texas state trooper who arrested Sandra Bland, Brian Encinia, has been charged with perjury. Specifically, Encinia is alleged to have lied about removing Bland from her car during the fateful traffic stop for reasons of safety.

It's difficult not to conflate Encinia's mishandling of the traffic stop with Bland's later death in police custody. If she hadn't been in jail, she wouldn't have committed suicide, goes the logic. I don't know if that's true, but it's not necessary to link the two events anyway. As I said last year, Encinia would have been guilty of abusing his authority even if Bland were still alive today.

If convicted, Encinia faces a $4,000 fine and/or a year of jail time. I'd be happier, though, if he lost his job. Anybody can make a mistake, but Encinia's was malicious, not inadvertent. He let his badge go to his head. He and every other law enforcement officer tempted to act like him need to see that power trips have consequences.

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