Crime

Sandra Bland's Family Paid $1.9M For Wrongful Death

| by Robert Fowler
Sandra BlandSandra Bland

The family of Sandra Bland reached a $1.9 million settlement with Waller County, Texas. Bland was found dead in a Waller County jail cell in July 2015.

On Sept. 15, attorney Cannon Lambert told CNN the Bland family would receive a $1.9 million to settle their wrongful death civil lawsuit against Waller County.

The Texas Department of Public Safety will pay $100,000 of the settlement while the county will pay the rest, according to KTRK.

In July 2015, 28-year-old Bland had just relocated from Chicago to Texas to seek a new job. After she failed to signal while changing lanes, Texas State Trooper Brian Encinia pulled her over.

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Encinia became aggressive with Bland after she declined to put out her cigarette.

“I am in my car,” Bland told the officer. “Why do I have to put out my cigarette?”

Dashcam video revealed that Encinia tried to forcibly drag Bland out of her vehicle. He arrested her without explaining to her why. In the arrest warrant, Encinia wrote that Bland was behaving violently and he had to subdue her with force.

Bland had spent three days in a Waller County jail when jail guards found her dead with a trash bag wrapped around her neck. Her death was ruled a suicide, although her family has always disputed that she would take her own life.

After reviewing the timeline of that day, it was discovered the guard on duty had failed to check in with Bland consistently, a violation of policy.

The settlement also includes an agreement the Waller County jail will make changes.

These changes will include installing automatic electronic sensors that will monitor whether or not guards are performing timely cell checks, educating guards on jailer screening and ensuring there is a staff nurse or emergency medical technician during all shifts.

Attorney Larry Simmons, who represented Waller County in the lawsuit, says the settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing.

“The Waller County defendants ... emphasize they vigorously deny any fault or wrongdoing, and the potential settlement does not involve any such admissions," Simmons told NBC News.

Encinia was fired in March 2016 and has been indicted for perjury. The charge is reportedly related to how he had described Bland’s behavior in her arrest warrant.

Sources: KTRKCNN, NBC News / Photo credit: Sandra Bland via The Huffington Post

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