HOUSTON, Texas – A special prosecutor in the Sandra Bland case, and the head of a commission that has looked into the procedures in Waller County, Texas, has confirmed that a grand jury has declined to indict the Waller County Sheriff or his staff.
Special prosecutor, Houston lawyer, Darrell W. Jordan, Jr., spoke with Breitbart Texas and said the grand jury did exactly what he thought they would do. The Houston-area lawyer pointed to the federal wrongful death lawsuit filed by the Bland family and said even the family is not alleging there was a homicide.
The special prosecutor added, “The grand jury found no evidence of homicide.”
He explained that the federal lawsuit filed by the Bland family alleges that the county and their employees were negligent in their evaluation of Bland when at the jail; it does not assert there was a homicide.
Jordan concluded, “The main thing is the case is not over and we will return in January to consider the remaining issues.” He added, “But there is no dispute as to the sheriff and the sheriff’s employees.”
Breitbart Texas reported in August that Sandra Bland’s mother filed a federal civil rights lawsuit on behalf of herself and Bland’s estate. A copy of the complaint filed in federal court was attached to this article.
Breitbart Texas previously reported that Trooper Encinia stopped Bland after she ran a stop sign in front of him and then changed lanes without signaling as his vehicle approached hers. He told her the reason for the stop was the improper lane change and said he was about to give her a warning ticket, according to the dashcam video released by the Texas DPS. The situation escalated after Bland refused to put out a cigarette per the officer’s instructions. Bland’s death in the jail was ruled a suicide by a medical examiner.
No mention has been made by the family about Sandra Bland’s personal responsibility in disobeying an order from a police officer and her alleged assault of the trooper. Nor did they explain why the family did not assist Ms. Bland with posting bond. She was in jail three days prior to her death.
Paul Looney is a Houston area lawyer who was appointed by the sheriff to select a commission to look into the jail procedures and other issues at the county. The commission was not created to look into the Sandra Bland matter. He said the mission was to look into booking procedures, engage in “ride-a-longs,” and report anything that is or is not satisfactory. He said Sheriff Smith wanted to be accountable to the public.
Looney also confirmed that “The only thing that was done yesterday is that the grand jury has declined to indict the sheriff or the sheriff’s staff.” He continued, “There is no surprise there contrary to what you may have seen in other media reports.”
The Houston area lawyer told Breitbart Texas that Waller County Sheriff Glenn Smith immediately called the FBI, the Texas Rangers, the Office of the Texas Attorney General, and the Waller County District Attorney after the death of Sandra Bland.
He said Sheriff Smith “was completely transparent.” He added, “It’s the cover-up that generally gets people in trouble.”
Looney said it is remarkable how transparent the sheriff has been. He called the transparency in “such a small county,” “cutting-edge transparency.”
He concluded, “I never thought anyone with the sheriff had any fault.”
Because he is not a special prosecutor, Looney could speak to future proceedings at the grand jury. He said, “The only issue that remains is Officer Encinia.” Officer Brian Encinia is the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) trooper who initially arrested Bland.
Looney told Breitbart Texas that police dashcam videos do not show everything at the scene. It is possible that the grand jury could hear evidence that incriminates the officer, he said.
The special prosecutor told Breitbart Texas that the grand jury in Waller County will reconvene in January.
Lana Shadwick is a writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served as an associate judge and prosecutor. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2