Waller County Files To Dismiss Sandra Bland's Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Sandra Bland was found hanging in her Waller County Jail cell in July, three days after she was arrested for a traffic violation.
Attorneys representing Waller County in the wrongful death lawsuit filed by Sandra Bland's mother entered a motion for summary judgment Wednesday, claiming the actions of the Waller County jailers were "objectively reasonable," and that Bland's rights were not violated at the jail.
Bland was arrested for a traffic stop in July, and was found hanging in her cell at Waller County Jail three days later. Her death was ruled a suicide. Although she had indicated a previous suicide attempt on her intake form, she was not placed on suicide watch.
"Screening officers observed that Bland appeared angry she had been arrested, but not that she was depressed or suicidal," the motion for summary judgment said. "Defendants... did not have any subjective knowledge of and were not deliberately indifferent to any alleged serious risk of suicide. In addition, no policy or custom of Waller County resulted in any violation of Bland's rights."
In July, Waller County Jail was cited by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards for substandard training in how to handle potentially suicidal inmates, and for failing to personally observe an inmate at least once per hour. The jail was similarly cited in 2012 for violating the 60-minute observation standard after an inmate was found hanging by a bed sheet.
The wrongful death lawsuit was filed by Bland's mother, Geneva Reed-Veal, in August. According to the Associated Press, the family filed the lawsuit only after officials failed to provide enough information about the circumstances of Bland's death, which sparked international protests and prompted investigations by multiple law enforcement agencies that have yet to be completed.
Here's the entire motion for summary judgment:
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Houston, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.