A fired Texas trooper pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a charge of misdemeanor perjury stemming from his arrest last summer of Sandra Bland, a black woman who was later found dead in a county jail.

During a brief appearance before a Waller County judge, Brian Encinia entered his plea as protesters gathered outside of the courthouse in Hempstead, roughly 50 miles northwest of Houston.

One held a sign that read: “What happened to Sandra Bland?” About 20 to 25 protesters yelled “Tell the truth” and “Sandra still speaks,” and at one point directed their chanting at Waller County Sheriff Glenn Smith who stood nearby speaking with reporters.

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