Sandra Bland's Family Reaches $1.9 Million Wrongful Death Settlement with Texas Authorities


The family of Sandra Bland has reached a settlement in its federal wrongful death lawsuit against Texas authorities, according to CBS News.

Attorney Cannon Lambert has confirmed combined settlements with both the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Waller County jail amounting to $1.9 million.

via NYT:

The lawyer, Cannon Lambert, said in a telephone interview that the final details of the settlement had been concluded Wednesday night. They include making changes in jail procedures and providing damages for the family.

The settlement would require the Waller County jail, where Ms. Bland’s body was found in a cell in July 2015, to pay $1.8 million of the settlement, he said, and the Texas Department of Public Safety to pay $100,000, the maximum allowed by law.

After Mr. Lambert’s announcement, a statement from the lawyer representing Waller County, Larry J. Simmons, said that a few details still needed to be worked out in the “potential” settlement agreement and that it needed to be approved by the county commissioner’s court.

“The Waller County defendants also emphasize they vigorously deny any fault or wrongdoing, and the potential settlement does not involve any such admissions,” Mr. Simmons said in the emailed statement.

A statement from Tom Vinger, a spokesman with the Texas Department of Public Safety, said the department had not settled any litigation related to Ms. Bland. He declined to provide further details.

Mr. Lambert could not immediately be reached later on Thursday for questions about the state and county remarks.

Mr. Lambert said there were also conditions of the settlement, including a requirement for sensors to be used at the jail to ensure that detainee checks were done accurately and could not be falsified. He said the jail agreed to ensure there was a duty nurse or emergency medical technician on all shifts.

In addition, according to Mr. Lambert, the Waller County judge, Carbett J. Duhon III, the region’s chief executive officer, agreed to push for more funding to improve booking, training and other jail functions through legislation named for Ms. Bland.

The Texas attorney general’s office declined to comment on Thursday after Mr. Lambert’s announcement

Trooper Brian T. Encinia, who stopped Ms. Bland’s car in Prairie View, Tex. on July 10, 2015, was fired from the Department of Public Safety in January after a Waller County grand jury concluded that he had lied about the reason for her removal from her car. He was indicted on a charge of misdemeanor perjury, pleaded not guilty to the charge and was released on a $2,500 bond.

A “status hearing” is scheduled for Oct. 11 in Hempstead, Tex.

The federal lawsuit filed by Geneva Reed-Veal, Ms. Bland’s mother, in August 2015, contended that Ms. Bland should not have been arrested and that she was later held in dangerous conditions without proper supervision.

Mr. Lambert said that Ms. Reed-Veal had pushed for the non-financial conditions because she wanted to help other mothers who were going through the same circumstances.


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