On March 22 Brian Encinia pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor charge of perjury, which is the only criminal charge anyone is facing for the death of Sandra Bland. There is supposed to be another hearing in mid-May, and the worst penalty Encinia faces is a year in jail and a fine of $4,000.

Every covert operation needs a sacrificial lamb, if things go wrong. When the public gets riled up and wants to taste blood, somebody has to be thrown to the wolves. When Sandra died, Encinia was the most obvious candidate. More than likely, whoever runs things in that neck of the woods convinced him to take a hit for the team. With all the attention focused on him, as the symbolic representative of BadCops in Waller County, the rest of them could get back to business as usual.

More than likely, Encinia will be compensated somehow for the trauma of being accused and inconvenienced by having to show up in court, etc. They’ll make sure he has another job lined up, and though he probably won’t have to serve any time, no doubt someone has promised to take care of his family if he has to go away for a while. That’s the criminal situation. But there is something else going on.

An uninvolved lawyer describes the purpose of civil suits, which rarely result in monetary awards, but they do raise consciousness and awareness:

The point in filing a wrongful death lawsuit is not to obtain revenge, but to provide a grieving family with a vehicle to send a message to others that the circumstances of their case should not be allowed to happen ever again.

As the world knows, Sandra Bland’s family has filed a civil lawsuit against several officials and the Waller County jail and the jailers and especially Trooper Brian Encinia, who arrested her to exercise his suspect-brutalizing muscles and also just for the hell of it. A judge set the trial date for January, 2017. It seems a long way off, and chances are it can be pushed even further into the future. The lawyers who work for Sandra Bland’s family can’t get their hands on what they need for the civil case, when those materials are part of an ongoing criminal matter.

In other words, there had to be some kind of a criminal case, so the innocent public can feel hopeful that some kind of justice will be done, when it probably will not. But the most important purpose of having some kind of a criminal case is that it can be stalled and prolonged indefinitely, meanwhile preventing forward progress on the civil side.

It’s a chess game, and by making the criminal case last forever, a stalemate can be brought about. It’s happening with the Kendrick Johnson case. His parents dropped their civil suit – for now, anyway – because no forward motion can happen as long as Johnson’s death is supposedly being investigated as a criminal matter. And this, in turn, is supposed to thwart the money-grubbing families of dead victims.

It gets even worse. Some online idiot who is fixated on the mythical Black Grievance Industry proposed the bizarre theory that Sandra Bland volunteered for a suicide-by-cop mission, so her mother could collect a monetary award for damages. That scenario is so grotesque that I can only treat it like the joke that it is and say, “Damn, my rotten kid never once offered to do that for me.”