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Wrongful Death Suit Filed in Sandra Bland Case
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Geneva Reed-Veal has filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of her daughter, Sandra Bland, who died last month in her Texas jail cell.

Summary: Geneva Reed-Veal has filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of her daughter, Sandra Bland, who died last month in her Texas jail cell.

According to the New York Times, Sandra Bland’s mother has filed a federal wrongful death suit. In the complaint, Bland’s mother, Geneva Reed-Veal, argues that Bland should not have been arrested, and that she was held in dangerous conditions without being properly supervised. Bland was found hanging in her jail cell in Texas in July.

  
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Defendants named in the suit were Brian T. Encinia, who arrested Bland, as well as two guards at the Waller County Jail, where Bland died. The Texas Department of Public Safety and the county were also named as defendants in the suit. According to Yahoo News, the suit seeks unspecified punitive damages.

The case was filed in Federal District Court in Houston. It alleges that Trooper Encinia made up reasons to arrest Bland, and that employees at the jail did not act properly when Bland refused meals and “had bouts of uncontrollable crying.”

Cannon Lambert, an attorney for Bland’s family, said, “We are looking for Waller County and for individuals involved in this situation to take accountability. This family is frustrated.”

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Lambert

Lambert

The Baltimore Police Department will be investigated in response to Freddie Gray’s death.



On July 10, Trooper Encinia pulled Bland over for failing to use her blinker when she changed lanes. According to dash-cam video, the incident was originally a normal traffic stop. The situation escalated, however, when Trooper Encinia asked Bland to put out her cigarette and Bland questioned the trooper’s request. Eventually, Trooper Encinia told Bland to step out of her car, and threatened to use a Taser on her. According to Vox.com, Trooper Encinia pulled out his stun gun, aimed it at Bland, and said, ”I will light you up.” At that point, Sandra got out of her vehicle. She was arrested for assaulting a public servant.

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Many individuals have questioned the events that led to Bland’s arrest. Reed-Veal said that the trooper “demonstrated a deliberate indifference to an conscious disregard for the constitutional rights and safety of Sandra Bland.”

The suit also alleges that inappropriate force was used during the arrest, which “caused Sandra Bland to suffer injury and death.”

Michael Brown’s family will continue their legal fight.

After Bland was arrested, she was held over the weekend in Waller County. The area has a history of racial tension. On July 13, Bland was found hanging in her cell, where she had allegedly used a trashcan liner as a makeshift noose. Though an autopsy said the injuries were consistent with suicide, Bland’s friends and family have questioned the finding.

“That baby did not take herself out of here,” Reed-Veal declared at Bland’s funeral service.

Bland had recently arrived in Waller County to take a job at Prairie View A&M University, her alma mater. In the past few months, Bland, who was black, posted videos online that questioned how police officers interact with blacks.

Black teens are reportedly killed by police 21 times more than white teens are.

According to Texas officials, Bland told her jailers she had tried to kill herself in the past. Though the jailers had this information, the suit alleges that officials housed Bland in a cell “with a variety of inappropriate items,” such as a garbage can, garbage bags, and exposed beams. The suit alleges that guards did not check on Bland often enough.

Larry J. Simmons Jr. will represent the county as outside counsel. In a statement, Simmons said, “The county expresses its sympathy to Sandra Bland’s family. We look forward to presenting all the evidence to the court, in the context of the applicable standards for civil liability, and intend to vigorously defend the case.”

For now, Trooper Encinia is on administrative duty pending an investigation. Further disciplinary action may be forthcoming, according to Sheriff R. Glenn Smith.

Source: New York Times

Photo credit: mashable.com, getthecannon.com (Lambert)



 

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