Rolling Out

Sandra Bland’s family settles for $1.9M in wrongful death suit

Brian Encinia and Sandra Bland (Photo Credit: Brian Encinia @Llinkedin and FaceBook @Sandra Bland)
Brian Encinia and Sandra Bland (Photo Credit: Brian Encinia @Llinkedin and FaceBook @Sandra Bland)

Sandra Bland’s family has reached a $1.9 million settlement from a wrongful death lawsuit, the family’s attorney said Thursday.

This resolution comes on the heels of recent news of false statements made by Waller County officials. A former jail guard recently admitted to falsifying logs to show he checked on Sandra Bland an hour before her death when, in fact, he didn’t, according to a lawyer for Bland’s family.

“There’s no question that it did not happen,” her mother’s attorney, Cannon Lambert, reportedly said. “The jailer told him in the deposition he noted in the jail log he observed Bland in her cell at 8:01 a.m., less than an hour before she was found strangled by a noose made from a plastic trash bag. … In fact, jailers never checked on Bland or about a dozen other inmates that hour.”

Bland was found dead in her jail cell three days after she was arrested for failing to use her turn signal in July 2015.

Although no jail officials have been indicted, the state trooper involved in the controversial arrest, Brian Encinia, is facing a misdemeanor perjury charge. If he is convicted of the charge, he could be sentenced to up to a year in jail and a $4K fine.
Texas Public Safety Director Steve McCraw found that there was just cause to terminate Encinia over the allegations.

“I have carefully considered all the points raised by you in our meeting on February 5, 2016. I have determined that you have not rebutted the charges set out in the statement of charges of January 28, 2016. No cause has been presented to alter my preliminary decision. Therefore, it is now my decision that you be discharged from the Texas Department of Public Safety effective at 5:00p.m., upon the date you receive this letter, pursuant to the authority vested in me by Section 411.007, Government Code,” McCraw wrote in a letter to Encinia.

The settlement includes compensation for Bland’s death as well as several changes to jail procedures in Waller County, Texas, where Bland died. The details of the settlement were finalized Wednesday night, attorney Cannon Lambert said.

This is a developing story – more to come as Waller County and the Texas Department of Public Safety respond to requests for comments.

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