20:59 GMT11 April 2021
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    The family of Sandra Bland, whose mysterious death behind bars in Texas sparked nationwide outrage, has settled a wrongful death lawsuit against the police department for $1.9 million.

    In addition to monetary compensation, which will be paid by the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Waller County Jail, the jail will also institute higher standards of staff training and ensure that a nurse or emergency medical technician is available at all times. Bland’s mother, Geneva Reed-Veal, demanded reform as part of the settlement.

    Bland was violently arrested in July 2015, and held in the Waller County Jail for three days following what began as a simple traffic stop, as she was unable to come up with the $500 bail. On the third day, she was found in her cell hanging by a noose fashioned from a plastic garbage bag.

    Though Bland’s death was ruled a suicide, her family, as well as activists, questioned the official story. She had a history of outspokenness on social media regarding police brutality and had just moved to the area for a new job. Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis maintained that there was no evidence of foul play.

    Brian Encinia, the officer who arrested Bland and charged her with assaulting an officer, was indicted in December 2015 on a misdemeanor perjury charge for lying about what happened during the encounter. He was fired from the department.

    A $100,000 portion of the settlement will be paid by the Department of Public Safety, whose liability is capped by state statutes, and the jail will pay the other $1.8 million.


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    Police Brutality, Waller County Jail, Brian Encinia, Sandra Bland, Texas, Waller County
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