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HOUSTON (CBSDFW.COM) – The family of Sandra Bland has reportedly reached a settlement in their federal wrongful death lawsuit.
Sources say the combined settlements with the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Waller County Jail will pay the family $1.9 million.
Sandra Bland, a Prairie View A&M University graduate, died in the Waller County jail in 2015. The settlement reportedly includes a provision that the Jail now have a 24-hour nurse or emergency medical technician on duty.
Bland, a black woman, had been pulled over by Texas State Trooper Brian Encinia. The traffic stop became heated when Bland refused the officer’s request to put out a cigarette and his subsequent order to get out of the car.
Video of the stop shows Encinia drawing his stun gun and telling Bland, “I will light you up!” Bland eventually steps out of the vehicle, and Encinia orders her to the side of the road. She can later be heard off-camera screaming that he’s about to break her wrists and complaining that he knocked her head into the ground.
Bland was later taken to the Waller County jail in Hempstead, where three days later she was found hanging from a jail cell partition with a plastic garbage bag around her neck. Her death was ruled a suicide but her family always disputed that finding.
Trooper Encinia, who was fired by DPS in March, has been charged with perjury for allegedly lying about how he removed Bland from her vehicle during the traffic stop. He has pled not guilty.
Bland’s death occurred amid heightened scrutiny nationwide of police and their dealings with black suspects, especially those who have been killed by officers or die in police custody.
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