The family of Sandra Bland has reached a tentative settlement in its federal wrongful death lawsuit against Texas authorities, the family’s attorney confirmed to CBS News on Thursday morning. Attorney Cannon Lambert for the family confirmed the combined settlements with the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Waller County jail will pay the family $1.9 million. Ms. Bland, a Prairie View A&M University graduate, died in the jail in 2015 while she was in custody of Waller County.
Ms. Bland’s death could have been avoided if she had been kept under a suicide watch due to a history of her having suffered from PTSD and depression from the loss of a child.
Her death especially would have been avoided if she was not stopped, harassed and physically attacked by DPS Trooper Brian Encina.
Were it not for his criminal brutality, Ms. Bland would still be alive.
Due to their negligence, they will have to shell out the sum of $1.9 million.
In this incident, the crime, on the part of Encina and the officials of Waller County and the Texas Department of Public Safety in their abuse and neglect to Ms. Bland, definitely did not pay, and as a result of their actions, they will have to pay for their mistreatment of Ms. Bland.
Stephanie Whitfield, KHOU
HEMPSTEAD, Texas – Attorneys representing the family of Sandra Bland say they have reached a tentative settlement in federal wrongful death lawsuit.
The family will receive $1.9 million dollars from Waller County and the Texas Department of Public Safety, according to attorney Ted Diamantopoulos.
“I will say that it brings about God’s justice for me. I think the non-monetary portion of the settlement is what’s very imperative here,” said Geneva Reed-Veal, Bland’s mother.
Sandra Bland’s case made national headlines after she was involved in a controversial traffic stop in 2015.
After she was taken into custody by Trooper Brian Encinia, she was taken to the Waller County Jail where jailers found hanging in her cell.
“[The family’s] stance is there’s nothing they can do about what happened to Sandy, but they don’t what happened to ever happen again to anybody else,” said Diamantopoulos.
As part of the settlement, he said Waller County has agreed to have an on-duty nurse and EMT at the Waller County Jail 24/7. They added that DPS troopers will undergo more de-escalation training in the future.
In addition, Diamantopoulos said county officials will seek new legislation to fund further improvements at the jail. Any laws passed would be named after Sandra Bland.
“I’m more excited about that piece being the justice piece, because there’s never an amount you can put on your child,” said Reed-Veal.
Waller County officials declined interviews regarding the possible settlement. Instead, its attorney, Larry Simmons, sent the following statement Thursday morning:
A potential settlement agreement has been reached, but is not yet final. The parties are still working through a few details. In addition, The potential settlement must be approved by the Waller County Commissioner’s court, which has not yet occurred. The parties also agreed in writing that the potential settlement was to remain confidential until finalized, after which time it would be public record. The Waller County defendants intend to honor this commitment. The Waller County defendants also emphasize they vigorously deny any fault or wrongdoing, and the potential settlement does not involve any such admissions. Although the settlement amount is confidential until approved, it does not involve the expenditure of any County funds, other than a modest $1,000 deductible. Once the settlement is final, the County will be issuing a formal press release.
The Texas Department of Public Safety also released a statement that reads, “DPS has not settled litigation regarding Sandra Bland, and is not a party to any agreements between the plaintiffs and Waller County defendants. “