A Texas state trooper involved in a controversial arrest of a black woman who was found dead in her jail cell was indicted on perjury charges, US prosecutors said Wednesday.
A dashcam video captured trooper Brian Encinia, who is white, holding a stun gun and shouting "I will light you up!" after getting into an argument with Sandra Bland during a traffic stop in July.
The video went viral after Bland's family disputed the coroner's conclusion that she committed suicide, insisting Bland was happy about starting a new job and had no reason to kill herself just three days after her arrest.
It comes with America embroiled in a debate over race and police tactics after a series of high-profile incidents in which African Americans were killed by police in disputed circumstances.
A grand jury declined to issue indictments last month against Bland's jailers in connection with her death.
However, Encinia could face up to a year in prison if convicted of lying on the affidavit he submitted justifying the arrest.
"The indictment was issued in reference to the reason that he removed her from her vehicle," a special prosecutor appointed to handle the case told reporters on the Waller County courthouse steps.
Prosecutors declined to provide further details.
Bland's family has filed a civil suit in an attempt to force the county and individuals involved to take responsibility for their role in her death.
They insist that she never should have been arrested in the first place.
Bland was an activist in the Black Lives Matter movement, which grew out of protests sparked by the 2014 police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and cases such as that of Freddie Gray, who sustained a fatal spinal injury in a Baltimore police van.
She can be heard arguing with Encinia after he pulled her over for failing to signal a lane change in rural Waller County.
Things escalated after he told her to "put out your cigarette please" and she refused.
Encinia told her to step out of the car and she initially refused, saying, "You do not have the right" and "I'm going to call my lawyer."
She eventually left the vehicle after Encinia shouted, "I'm going to drag you out!" and they can be heard to continue to argue as they moved out of view of the camera.
"You're about to break my wrists! Can't you stop?!" Bland shouted.
"When you pull away from me you're resisting arrest!" Encinia shouted back at one point.
She was found hanged in her cell by a plastic bag on July 13 while waiting to be bailed out of jail on charges of assaulting an officer.
Bland's shock was apparent in a voice mail message she left for a friend shortly before she died.
"I'm still just at a loss for words honestly at this whole process," she said on the message obtained by KTRK news.
"How did switching lanes with no signal turn into all of this, I don't even know."