The officer who arrested Sandra Bland received glowing reviews during his training and has since received one citation for “unprofessional conduct,” according to documents obtained by WLS-TV , an ABC affiliate in Chicago. The officer, Brian Encinia, has been eyed suspiciously since Bland committed suicide three days into a jail stay following a traffic stop July 10, and the death has reinforced ongoing conversations over the treatment of black people at the hands of police officers.
Bland, a 28-year-old from Chicago, was arrested after a traffic stop in Texas. A video showing her slammed to the ground and cuffed has stirred controversy, with some wondering if her treatment during the arrest and while in custody led to her suicide. During Bland's arrest, Encinia violated his department’s arrest procedures for traffic stops and courtesy policies, state public officials later said. Bland was charged with assaulting a police officer.
Encinia’s professional history at the department, as outlined in the documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by WLS-TV, do not, however, detail a long history of abuse and bad behavior. He had received just one citation for “unprofessional behavior” while responding to an incident at a school in Austin, Texas, but the specifics surrounding the citation were not discussed in the FOIA documents. He later received written therapy because of the incident.
During his training evaluation, however, he received good marks for a variety of studied attributes. For “stress tolerance,” he is said to have “performed effectively and rationally while involved in a pursuit resulting a firearms discharge,” another incident that did not come with specifics. It was written last fall that he had good problem-solving skills and good judgment on patrol.
Bland's suicide has been the source of considerable speculation, with some, falsely, claiming she was dead before she even entered the police station where she was held. Some, also falsely, believed that she was already dead when her mug shot was taken. Still others have claimed that she did not actually kill herself and that her suicide was staged. The staged suicide theory, according to a judge, is also false and video reportedly shows that no officer entered her cell between the time she was last known to be alive and when she was found hanging.