Sandra Bland’s family’s settlement from their wrongful death lawsuit will include $1.9 million and a mandate to implement police reforms in Waller County.
More than a year after the arrest and death of Sandra Bland — the 28-year-old black woman who relocated to Texas to start her new job and was pulled over by Waller County police officer Brain Encina for failing to signal before changing lanes — her family has finally reached an agreement with the state of Texas in their wrongful death lawsuit.
The Bland family is tentatively set to receive $1.9 million dollars, according to a statement made to the press by family attorney Cannon Lambert.
According to HuffingtonPost.com, the settlement will include financial retribution for Bland’s death, which was officially ruled a suicide. Although the majority of the sum will come from the coffers of Waller County, the Texas Department of Public Safety wasn’t let off the hook — it will pay $100,000 of the total amount.
Footage of Bland’s arrest was captured by dashcam and a passerby’s cell phone. As previously reported here at Wear Your Voice, Encina yanked Bland from her car and tossed her to the ground before shoving a knee into her back to immobilize her. The whole encounter was unnerving and brutal.
Bland was incarcerated for three days following the arrest before jail attendees found her dead. Her family expressed “suspicion” about the official autopsy report, which stated the cause of death as suicide by means of “self-inflicted asphyxiation.” Subsequently, they ordered an independent autopsy.
Encina’s termination from the Waller County police department did nothing to quell the intense public scrutiny that grew out of the national discussion of Bland’s death. However, as reported by HuffingtonPost.com, Waller County’s settlement with the Bland family includes a mandate to implement new procedures for jailing suspects, such as “officers using automated electronic sensors to ensure timely cell checks, providing an on-duty nurse or emergency medical technician for all shifts and to provide continuing education for jailer screening.”
Other stipulations include Waller County’s judge “seeking passage of state legislation for more funding for local jails regarding intake and booking, screening and other jail support,” Lambert said.