Tag: Brian Encinia

Sandra Bland’s Family Settles Wrongful Death Suit in Texas For $1.9 Million

Newsworthy
(Source: Keith Getter / Getty)

article via theurbandaily.com

The family of Sandra Bland has settled a wrongful death suit with officials in Waller County, Texas, for $1.9 million, reports CNN.

The amount includes payment for Bland’s death as well as several changes to jail procedures, notes the report.  The case became a rallying call in the push for criminal justice reform after the 28-year-old Illinois woman was found dead in a jail cell, three days after she was arrested for failing to use her turn signal in July 2015. Many of the activists argued that she should not have been arrested on a minor traffic infraction or jailed in the first place.

The family’s lawyer, Cannon Lambert, said the final details of the agreement were hammered out on Wednesday night, writes CNN:

Some of the jail procedure changes included in the settlement are:

— Using automated electronic sensors to ensure timely cell checks

— Providing an on-duty staff nurse or emergency medical technician for all shifts

— Providing continuing education for jailer screening

In addition, “the Waller County judge will be seeking passage of state legislation for more funding for local jails regarding intake and booking, screening and other jail support,” the attorney said.

Brian Encinia, the Texas state trooper who arrested her, was “fired after he was indicted on a perjury charge,” notes CNN. And a Waller County jail worker admitted to falsifying log entries showing that he checked on Bland an hour before her death.

Texas Trooper Who Arrested Sandra Bland Indicted for Perjury by Grand Jury

Sandra Bland
About two dozen people demonstrate outside the Waller County Courthouse in Hempstead, Texas, where a grand jury reviewed the case of Sandra Bland.  (Michael Graczyk / Associated Press)

The Texas Department of Public Safety announced it would move to fire Trooper Brian T. Encinia.

The indictment marked the conclusion of the grand jury’s investigation of the case.

If convicted of the misdemeanor perjury charge, Encinia faces up to a year in jail, according to Warren Diepraam, a spokesman for the Waller County district attorney’s office. The grand jury declined to indict on a charge of aggravated perjury, Diepraam said.

Bland, 28, who was black, was found hanging by a plastic bag in her jail cell three days after she was arrested July 10 during a routine traffic stop about 55 miles west of Houston.

Encinia pulled over Bland for making an improper lane change. The confrontation that ensued, which led to Bland’s arrest on suspicion of assaulting Encinia, was captured on a dashboard camera video that went viral.

The charge against Encinia stemmed from a one-page probable cause affidavit that Encinia filed with jail officials justifying Bland’s arrest, in which he wrote that the reason he removed her from her car was to conduct a safer traffic investigation, said special prosecutor Shawn McDonald.

“The grand jury found that statement to be false,” McDonald said.

After she was arrested, Bland was taken to the Waller County Jail in nearby Hempstead, where she was unable to make $500 bail. Officials said Bland hanged herself with a plastic bag.

Bland’s family and Black Lives Matter supporters questioned why she had been arrested at all, with some asking whether she had taken her own life. At the time Bland was stopped, she had just accepted a job at her alma mater, Prairie View A&M University.

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TX Prosecutor Appoints Committee Outside His Jurisdiction to Investigate Death Of Sandra Bland

Sandra Bland (photo via fusion.net)
Sandra Bland (photo via fusion.net)

In the wake of funeral services for Sandra Bland this past weekend, Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis has appointed a committee of attorneys from outside his jurisdiction to review findings in the mysterious death of Bland. This committee will review evidence as it continues to be collected, all in an effort to help Mathis sort out the many moving parts of the case.

Mathis made the announcement on Monday, just as the fervor around finding out how exactly the 28-year-old Illinois woman died just three days after a traffic stop in Texas on July 10. Mathis’ office released a toxicology report last Monday, revealing that Bland had marijuana in her system. According to the Chicago Tribune, a pair of experts that reviewed the report for the Associated Press suggested that Bland may have used the drug while in custody.

Mathis said he and the collective of lawyers intend to review “credible evidence and not rumors” according to a report from CBS News. Mathis has much to contend with in that arena, as Bland’s family and supporters are questioning findings that her death was indeed a self-inflicted hanging by way of a plastic trash bag in her Waller County jail cell.

Continue reading “TX Prosecutor Appoints Committee Outside His Jurisdiction to Investigate Death Of Sandra Bland”