The family of Sandra Bland, the Texas woman who died in jail last year after a controversial traffic stop and arrest, has settled a civil suit for $1.9 million, attorneys for the family said Thursday morning.
Cannon Lambert, the attorney for Bland's family, told KTRK that Waller County Jail will pay $1.8 million of the settlement. The Texas Department of Public Safety will pay the remaining $100,000, the maximum amount allowed by state statutes.
Waller County Jail will also implement procedural changes as part of the settlement, Bland's mother told KTRK. The changes include: providing emergency nurses at all times, using sensors to make sure that cells are accurately checked in a timely manner and actively working to get more state funds for various jail services, including prisoner intake, inmate screening, training and additional jail support.
In addition, Bland's mother told KTRK any laws passed that are meant to benefit Waller County Jail will be named in her daughter's honor.
Bland, 28, was found dead in her jail cell in July 2015, three days after she was stopped for a minor traffic violation by state Trooper Brian Encinia. Her death was ruled a suicide.
The case gained national attention, fueled by dashcam footage released by the Texas Department of Public Safety. The footage showed Bland and Encinia in a heated, tense, verbal confrontation after he pulled her over for failing to use a signal before a lane change.
Encinia grabbed Bland to remove her from her car after she refused to get out and threatened to "light her up" with his stun gun. The two grappled and Bland was charged with assault on a public servant.
The arrest was widely criticized as excessive and inappropriate amid increased scrutiny of use of police force against African Americans. Bland's family argued she should have never been arrested in the first place.
Bland's death spurred protests across the country.
A grand jury indicted Encina on a misdemeanor perjury charge in January for writing in an affidavit that he took Bland out of her car "to further conduct a safe traffic investigation."
He was fired by DPS shortly after his arrest.
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