CHICAGO (CBS) — Sandra Bland’s family has agreed to a $1.9 million settlement of their wrongful death lawsuit against authorities in Texas, over her death in a jail cell last year.
CBS News has confirmed the settlements with the Texas Department of Public Safety, and the Waller County Jail, where Bland died on July 13, 2015, three days after she was arrested during a traffic stop.
Bland, a black woman from Naperville, was found hanged in her cell. Her death was ruled a suicide. Her family filed a wrongful death lawsuit, alleging jail personnel did not properly monitor Bland while she was in her cell, and did not respond properly when she refused to eat and began crying uncontrollably.
Attorney Cannon Lambert told CBS News the settlement includes a $1.9 million payment to Bland’s family, and a requirement the Waller County Jail have an on-duty nurse and emergency medical technician for all shifts going forward.
The jail also will use electronic sensors to ensure accurate and timely checks on inmates. They will also offer additional jail training and ongoing education for officers.
A Waller County judge also will seek passage of state legislation that will fund improvements in intakes, bookings, screenings and jail support, Lambert said. Any legislation that might pass will be named in Bland’s honor.
An attorney for Waller County told CBS affiliate KHOU-TV the settlement is not finalized yet, and some details are still being worked out. The settlement must be approved by the Waller County Commissioners Court.
Bland had been pulled over on July 10, 2015, for failing to signal while making a lane change. Texas State Trooper Brian Encinia threatened to use a stun gun on Bland after the confrontation became heated.
Dashcam video shows Encinia drawing his stun gun and telling Bland “I will light you up” after she refused to get out of her car. She eventually got out of the car, and the two moved out of the view of the camera, but Bland could be heard accusing Encinia of kicking her.
Encinia later was charged with perjury for allegedly lying about how he removed Bland from her vehicle. He also was fired from the department.