Judge Accepts $1.9 Million Settlement for Sandra Bland's Family

Bland during the booking process at the Waller County Jail.
Bland during the booking process at the Waller County Jail.
Waller County District Attorney

A federal judge in Houston on Tuesday signed off on a settlement between Texas officials and Geneva Reed-Veal, whose daughter, Sandra Bland, died at the Waller County Jail in July 2015.

Reed-Veal accepted the $1.9 million settlement offer from the defendants, former Department of Public Safety Trooper Brian Encinia and Waller County officials, in September.

Bland, 28, was pulled over by Encinia in Prairie View last summer after the trooper concluded Bland failed to signal a lane change. After Encinia and Bland got into an argument, during which she refused to extinguish her cigarette and he threatened to use his Taser on her, Encinia arrested Bland.

Three days later, the authorities say, Bland committed suicide by hanging at the Waller County Jail. She had just moved back to Texas from Chicago to begin a new career at her alma mater, Prairie View A&M University.

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Reed-Veal's lawsuit accused Encina of assault and asserted the trooper and Waller County were responsible for the death of her daughter — especially since Bland informed jailers when she was booked that she had recently attempted suicide.

Encinia was no-billed by a grand jury on charges related to Bland's death but later indicted for perjury for lying in his account of Bland's arrest. Encinia claimed Bland became combative and kicked him, but dash camera footage of the traffic stop proved his version of events to be false.

The Department of Public Safety has fired Encinia. His perjury case is ongoing.


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