Citing an interview Texas Department of Public Safety director Steve McCraw gave to The Texas Tribune, The Huffington Post reports the official saying that Encinia has a responsibility as a lawman to remain professional, no matter how a citizen acts toward him.
“We’re accountable for every stop,” said McCaw. “And the citizen has a right to be objectionable — they can be rude. They can do a lot of things. They can say things, they can do things, and at the end of the day, we have an obligation not to react and be pulled into that. We’ve got to be professional, above that.”
McCaw’s comments mark the latest development in the aftermath of Bland’s death. On 07-10-15, Encinia stopped Bland for failure to signal while changing lanes. After stopping Bland, Encinia got into an argument with her about her attitude and refusal to put out her cigarette.
Bland’s refusal to get out of her car gave way to Encinia forcing her out of the vehicle and arresting her allegedly assaulting an officer. Bland was ultimately found hanging from her holding cell three days later. Her death was ruled a suicide, the Post noted.
In January, Encinia was charged with perjury for lying about how Bland got out of her car during the traffic stop. With the perjury charge, Encinia could face up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine as well as termination proceedings and a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Bland’s mother.
To see McCraw’s The Texas Tribune interview, check out the video below: