Trooper in Sandra Bland Case Indicted

A woman holds a poster bearing the portrait of Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old black woman who killed herself in a Texas jail cell on July 13th, during a Michael Brown memorial rally on Union Square August 9, 2015 in New York. Demonstrators showed support on the one year anniversary on the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen who was shot and killed in Ferguson, Missouri by a white police officer, Darren Wilson, throwing America's troubled race relations into harsh relief. AFP PHOTO / KENA BETANCUR (Photo credit should read KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)

The Texas state trooper who pulled over Sandra Bland has been indicted on suspicion of perjury, making him the only official to be criminally charged after Bland’s death. He was fired from the Waller County Police Department shortly after the indictment.

State trooper Brian T. Encinia is facing a maximum of a year in jail if he’s convicted of the misdemeanor charge, according to a Waller County district attorney’s spokesman, Warren Diepraam.

Bland’s death sparked outrage across the nation and fueled criticism of police and the treatment of minorities. The 28-year-old, who was african american, was pulled over by Encinia for making an improper lane change near Prairie View A&M University, her alma mater. A confrontation occurred after Encinia pulled Bland over where Bland allegedly kicked Encinia, which ultimately lead to her arrest. She was found dead three days later. Her death was ruled a suicide.

Bland’s sister, Sharon Cooper, says the perjury indictment returned against the trooper who arrested Bland is “bittersweet” for her family. According to The Asscosiated Press, Bland’s family has always believed Bland’s death was “largely impacted” by her encounter with Encinia. Bland family attorney Cannon Lambert says the indictment is “six months too late” but said Encinia “deserves it.” Lambert also hopes to see Encinia charged with assault, battery or abuse of his official power.

The grand jury’s indictment came after it decided last month that no felony was committed by the Waller County sheriff’s office or jailers in connection with Bland’s death.

A dash cam video that captured the confrontation went viral shortly after causing a nationwide firestorm. Bland’s family and protesters demanded answers and questioned why she had been arrested at all and whether her death really was a suicide.

Bland’s family doesn’t believe she took her own life. “Based on the Sandy I knew, this is unfathomable to me,” Sharon Cooper, one of Bland’s sisters, told reporters in Chicago. “People who knew her, truly knew her, the depth of her, that’s unfathomable right now.” The family described Bland as happy and motivated. Having just accepted a job at her alma mater, Prairie View A&M University, Bland was about to start a new chapter in her life.

The Bland family has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Waller County.

(Photo Credit: KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)