Sandra Bland, Trooper Encinia, and the Affidavit

5 walking at taserpoint

In the Affidavit and Complaint for Warrant of Arrest and Detention the affiant (Trooper Encinia) affirms that Sandra Bland committed the crime of Assault Public Servant, a Class 3 felony, and that he personally witnessed the offense.

Granted, official police report writing everywhere is abysmal, but in this narrative something very weird is going on. He writes,

“I observed a silver passenger car traveling southbound on Fm 1098 for failing to signal lane change… I had Bland exit the vehicle to further conduct a safe traffic investigation. Bland became combative and uncooperative.”

So far, he’s spoken in the active voice (I did this or that). Now, the language shifts to passive voice. It’s as if Encinia himself no longer has agency. Some mysterious entity from another dimension has stepped in to act in his place:

“Numerous commands were given to Bland ordering her to exit the vehicle. Bland was removed from the car but became more combative. Bland was placed in handcuffs for officer safety.”

Next, he goes back to first person, active voice:

“Bland began swinging her elbows at me and then kicked my right leg in the shin. I had a pain in my right leg and suffered small cuts on my right hand.”

This is the part he feels comfortable about putting out there, and the part that has to be convincing to make the charge stick. He has to say she injured him, and it hurt.

But now, the tale is once again told in the passive voice:

“Force was used to subdue Bland to the ground to which Bland continued to fight back. Bland was placed under arrest for Assault on Public Servant.”

Again, no “I” is doing anything. The mysterious ethereal being from another dimension has returned, and the trooper is just a bystander. It’s as if he is setting up a Jeckyl-and-Hyde scenario, reaching for a multiple-personality defense. Commands were given… Bland was removed… was placed in handcuffs… Force was used… Bland was placed…

That’s the sign, the tell. His actions that he knows were wrong are in the passive voice, as if he had nothing to do with any of it, no causal connection with the giving of commands, or the removal from the car, or the handcuffing, or the use of force.

The only thing he personally admits to is being kicked and having an owie on his hand.

The last line is obviously boilerplate: “This offense was committed against the peace and dignity of the state of Texas.”

What a joke! The only offense in that situation was committed by a cop who took a piddling traffic stop – that supposedly was going to result in only a warning! – and deliberately, diabolically turned it into a violent and decidedly undignified fracas.

Affidavit and Complaint


About Pat Hartman

Before publishing the two books "Call Someplace Paradise" and "Ghost Town: A Venice California Life", my main project was "Salon: A Journal of Aesthetics. " I wrote extensively for "Scene," a monthly arts and entertainment magazine with a circulation of 25,000. Also proofread, sold ads, put together the music calendar and, for a couple of years, served as editor. Presided over a couple issues of the local NORML newsletter, as well as being featured speaker at chapter meetings. Wrote a complete screenplay; collaborated on another one; worked on a couple of scripts (additional dialog and general brainstorming) with an indie film producer. Booked the talent for a large music festival. Wrote, designed, illustrated and produced various catalogs and brochures for small businesses. Spoke at a high school as a panelist on Women in the Professions; was a featured speaker at the 1991 Women in Libertarianism Conference; presented public programs on "Success in One Lesson" and "The Bloomsbury Group: What's It To Us?" Created the website and wrote many politically-oriented pieces for
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