Sandra Bland's Family Settles Wrongful Death Case for $1.9M

Sandra Bland’s Family Settles Wrongful Death Case for $1.9M

The family of Sandra Bland, an African-American woman arrested at a traffic stop in Texas who was later found dead in jail, has settled a wrongful death lawsuit for $1.9 million, according to multiple media outlets.

Family lawyer Cannon Lambert told CNN that Waller County, Texas, also agreed to changes in jail procedures. Lambert said details of the deal were finalized late Wednesday.

Dash cam video from Texas State Trooper Brian Encinia’s car on July 10, 2015, showed the officer pull Bland over for an improper lane change near Prairie View A&M University. The traffic stop escalated, and there was a struggle before Bland was taken into custody.

Bland died at the Waller County Jail three days later. Investigators said she was found hanging in her cell, and the medical examiner ruled her death a suicide.

The grand jury decided not to charge anyone at the jail in Bland’s death, but Encinia was charged with perjury and fired.

ABC13 News in Houston said the Texas Department of Public Safety will pay $100,000 of the settlement, with Waller County paying the bulk of the rest.

Bland, 28, was a Chicago-area native who had graduated from Prairie View, a predominately black school about 45 miles northwest of Houston, and was returning there for a job. On the video of the traffic stop, Bland can be heard protesting her arrest, repeatedly using expletives and calling the officer names. She screamed that the officer was about to break her wrists and complained that he knocked her head into the ground.

Some of the activity took place out of the camera’s view.

Booking papers released by the Waller County Sheriff’s Office show that when Bland was admitted to jail she told a guard she previously tried to kill herself. It was listed as the answer to a series of questions asked of each person booked into the county jail. Bland reportedly told a second corrections officer that she was upset about her arrest, but both jail officials said she did not appear suicidal or mentally ill.

Bland’s family steadfastly denied that she was suffering from depression or other disorders prior to her arrest.

CNN reports that some changes coming to the jail include using automated electronic sensors to ensure timely cell checks, providing an on-duty staff nurse or medical technician for all shifts and providing continuing education for jailer screening.

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