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The Brief: Sandra Bland's Family Settles Wrongful Death Suit

The family of Sandra Bland has settled a wrongful death lawsuit for $1.9 million and the promise of “several changes” to jail procedures, the family’s lawyer said Thursday.

Screenshot from Department of Public Safety dash cam video shows Sandra Bland as she exits her car after DPS officer Brian Encinia has drawn his taser on July 10, 2015.

The Big Conversation 

The family of Sandra Bland, a black woman who was arrested at a traffic stop in Texas then found dead in a Waller County Jail cell, has settled a wrongful death lawsuit for $1.9 million and the promise of “several changes” to jail procedures, the family’s lawyer said Thursday.

Bland was arrested on July 10, 2015, by former Department of Public Safety Trooper Brian Encinia for failing to properly signal a lane change. However, the circumstances of Bland’s arrest, captured on dashcam video, spurred a national debate over police brutality and racial discrimination. Bland, whose death was ruled a suicide, was found hanged in her cell three days after her arrest although she said that she was not feeling suicidal upon entering jail.

As the Tribune’s Johnathan Silver reports, the settlement was supposed to remain confidential until finalized. Waller County Attorney Larry Simmons told the Tribune in a statement Thursday that "the parties are still working through a few details” and “the potential settlement must be approved by the Waller County Commissioner’s Court, which has not yet occurred."

Family attorney Cannon Lambert said Bland’s mother was pleased with the settlement, "particularly because of the non-economic components." He adds, "the case is settled in its entirety. ... This is the beginning, not the end."

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