The lawyer representing Sandra Bland’s family announced today (September 15) that they reached a $1.9 million settlement in their wrongful death civil suit.
Attorney Cannon Lambert told The New York Times that the settlement’s final details were agreed upon last night (September 14). The terms include $1.8 million from the Waller County, Texas, jail where Bland was infamously found dead in 2015, as well as $100,000 from the Texas Department of Public Safety. Lambert said the settlement also dictated protocol changes for that jail, including electronic sensors that monitor timely jail cell checks and hiring on-duty nurses or emergency medical technicians. Lambert said that Bland’s mother, Geneva Reed-Veal, advocated for those changes. On CNN, Reed-Veal called the ruling “a victory for families across the country” and “every mother without a voice.”
Conversely, Larry J. Simmons, the attorney representing Waller County, told the Times via email that several details in the “potential” settlement needed to be worked out and approved by the county commissioner’s court. “The Waller County defendants also emphasize they vigorously deny any fault or wrongdoing, and the potential settlement does not involve any such admissions,” added Simmons. A spokesperson from the Texas attorney general’s office told the Times that the office is preparing a statement.
Simmons’ statement echos rulings by a Texas grand jury that did not find wrongdoing on the part of jail officials. Bland’s family filed the wrongful death suit amid widespread outrage over Bland’s death and dashcam footage showing Texas trooper Brian Encinia, who was fired in March, violently arresting Bland during a traffic stop. While officials ruled her death a suicide, many suspected officers and jail officials of foul play.