Prairie View, Texas police officer Michael Kelley claims that he was threatened by top prosecutors, stating that they’d “end his career” if he came forward about wrongdoings committed by fellow officer Brian Encinia in the case of Sandra Bland, according to ABC.
Kelley claimed that he wanted to confess to the grand jury that, “Bland appeared to have marks on her forehead after a confrontation with state trooper Brian Encinia, who pulled her over last July for allegedly failing to signal while changing a lane; Encinia was on the phone with a supervisor after arresting her because he didn’t know what charge she should face; and the police report Encinia ultimately submitted left out key details.”
He also claims he was never contacted by special prosecutors handling the case, while prosecutors avidly deny his claims.
Bland was pulled over by Encinia at a traffic stop in 2015 after she failed to put on her turn signal while switching lanes. Video footage and a microphone in Encinia’s uniform shows the two arguing before Encinia pulled Bland out of her seat before arresting her. She was found dead in her cell three days later.
The case of Sandra Bland opened the movement for state violence targeting black women, both cisgender and trans. Natasha McKenna, Janisha Fonville, Tanisha Anderson, Maya Hall, Nizah Morris, and Stephanie Dorceant are but a few names of black women who have either been killed or brutalized by the police force.