For Immediate Release
40,000 Call on DA to Prosecute TX State Trooper Brian Encinia
ColorOfChange.org Urges Waller County District Atty to Prosecute Encinia After Sandra Bland’s Death
WASHINGTON - Nearly a month has passed since Texas State Trooper Brian Encinia illegally arrested and assaulted Sandra Bland, who was found dead in her jail cell just 72 hours later. In line with the crisis of police accountability, Officer Encinia has not been fired or prosecuted. Instead, he not only remains employed but has also stopped 22 other drivers, more than half of them Black, for minor issues such as alleged speeding, not signaling a lane change, obscured lights etc. Last year alone, 64% of stops by police in the Waller County area involved Black drivers.
In response, ColorOfChange.org, the nation’s largest online civil rights group, has launched a petition calling on Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis to immediately prosecute Office Encinia.
Arisha Hatch, ColorOfChange Managing Director of Campaigns, issued the following statement: “There is no excuse as to why DA Mathis hasn’t charged Officer Encinia already. His failure to do so is only further proof that his investigation is a sham. As we have seen in Cincinnati and Baltimore, when prosecutors do their job they investigate and prosecute abusive and discriminatory police within a matter of days.”
Hatch continued, Two weeks ago, Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis formed a second independent committee to review the arrest and death of Sandra Bland. However, DA Mathis' independent committee is far from the true independent oversight that is needed to find out what happened to Sandra Bland. One of the panel members used to work for DA Mathis in the past and one of the other members, Paul Looney, heads the law firm Looney and Conrad, where the county judge also works. An independent panel that consists of DA Mathis' close colleagues is irresponsible, especially when the entire county has a history of racism and discrimination.
To makes matters worse, there are reports that a grand jury has been impaneled in Waller County where only one juror is Black. Let's be clear: Waller County officials cannot handle the investigation of Sandra Bland and we need Attorney General Loretta Lynch and the Department of Justice to act now and provide authentic independent oversight into discriminatory practices that led to Sandra's death.
Officer Encinia’s actions were criminal, and he should at the very least face charges of assault and battery, wrongful detention and falsifying a police report. In the recently released dash cam video he can be seen telling Sandra he is going to ‘light her up’ with his taser before violently ripping her from the car and arresting her for no reason. Officers like this must be held accountable, or they will harm again and the deep-seated culture of racism and violence in law enforcement will never end. Sandra should have never been arrested, and no matter what happened to her while in jail Officer Encinia, DA Elton Mathis and Sheriff Glenn Smith are responsible for her death.”
With more than 850,000 members, ColorOfChange.org is the nation’s largest online civil rights organization.