The family of a black woman found dead in her Texas jail cell has clinched a USD 1.9 million settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit, media reported today.
Sandra Bland’s arrest, caught in a dashcam video that went viral as it showed a white police trooper holding a stun gun and shouting “I will light you up!”, went viral amid tensions over high-profile police killings of African Americans.
As part of the settlement, her family obtained several changes in jail procedures in Waller County, Texas, including using automated electronic sensors to ensure timely cell checks, CNN reported, citing attorney Cannon Lambert.
Under the deal, county jails will also have to provide an on-duty staff nurse or emergency medical technician for all shifts, and providing an on-duty staff nurse or emergency medical technician for all shifts.
Bland was an activist in the Black Lives Matter movement, which grew out of protests sparked by the 2014 police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and cases such as that of Freddie Gray, who sustained a fatal spinal injury in a Baltimore police van.
The 28-year-old was found hanged in her cell by a plastic bag on July 13 while waiting to be bailed out of jail, where she was being held on charges of assaulting an officer during a traffic stop.
Her family insists she should never have been arrested in the first place.
They have also rejected the coroner’s conclusion that she committed suicide, insisting Bland was happy about starting a new job and had no reason to kill herself just three days after her arrest.
Bland’s shock at her arrest was apparent in a voicemail message she left for a friend shortly before she died.
“I’m still just at a loss for words honestly at this whole process,” she said in the message.
“How did switching lanes with no signal turn into all of this, I don’t even know.”