Local organization calls for firing of trooper in Sandra Bland case

A couple months after the death of Sandra Bland in the Waller County Jail this summer, The Texas Organizing Project presented a petition with thousands of signatures to The Texas Department of Public Safety, calling for the trooper who arrested Sandra Bland to be fired.

The video of Sandra Bland's arrest grabbed the attention of the entire country.

Tarsha Jackson is with the Texas Organizing Project serving Harris County.

“I don't know what was going on in the officer's head,” said Jackson.

Friday, she came to Austin with a group of volunteers and presented a petition full of more than 6,000 signatures. They presented it to DPS Director Steve McCraw. Jackson says the arresting trooper Brian Encinia needs to be fired.

“If we did something on our job that was wrong, or has something to do with a cause of death, we would be fired as well,” said Jackson.

She says McCraw updated them on where the investigation stands, but she feels they can say more.

“They can be more transparent, but they are committed to being transparent in our meeting by having conversations with the community,” said Jackson.

Jackson says it's not necessarily a matter of race, but how the trooper handled the predicament.

“The situation could've been handled differently, that's why it's important to revisit our justice system,” said Jackson.

The T.O.P. organization is not alone in their approach to the bland case.

“From what I've seen on the footage I do believe he should be investigated,” said Dollar Phillips, Austin resident.

Regardless of the public's sentiments toward the Bland case, the T.O.P. organization says they ultimately want to bridge the gap between community and police relationships.

“I don't blame every police for the main things we see and I know that's not every cop,” said Phillips.

DPS says they do provide their troopers with de-escalation training.