Sandra Bland’s ordeal ignited international protests about the treatment of people of color at the hands of law enforcement, and her face has become an emblem of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Sandra Bland’s loved ones, who have sued and protested about her in-custody death that was ruled a suicide, had three days to bail her out but failed to do so, asserts a motion asking a federal judge to dismiss her mother’s wrongful-death claims against Waller County, Texas.
Bland, 28, who was black and was in the process of moving to Texas from the Chicago area, was found dead in a Waller County jail cell July 13, three days after she was pulled over by Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Brian Encinia in Prairie View and arrested.
Bland’s mother, Geneva Reed-Veal, sued Encinia, the public-safety department, Waller County and the jail workers who processed Bland, Elsa Magnus and Oscar Prudente. The lawsuit accuses the county, Magnus and Prudente of “deliberate indifference” to Bland’s rights and safety.
The suit also alleges that jail personnel were “negligent, willful, wanton and reckless … in failing to keep her in a safe and suitable environment where she could be kept free from injury, harm and death.”
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Bland’s ordeal ignited international protests about the treatment of people of color at the hands of law enforcement, and her face has become an emblem of the Black Lives Matter movement.
This summer, the Prairie View City Council renamed a one-mile stretch of University Boulevard, the road from Highway 290 to her alma mater, Prairie View A&M University, as Sandra Bland Parkway.
Lawyers for Waller County and the jail employees on Wednesday filed a motion for summary judgment to end the lawsuit. The document explains the county’s position on Bland’s death and denies liability on the part of the municipality or its employees.
According to the filing, “Bland … confirmed she was not suicidal, although she acknowledged the prior suicide attempt after losing a baby. Screening officers observed that Bland appeared angry she had been arrested but not that she was depressed or suicidal. Based on Bland’s answers to the screening questions, and the screening officer’s observations of Bland, she was not identified as a candidate for suicide watch.”
The county also emphasizes in the motion that relatives and friends in her hometown of Chicago and in Prairie View did not post bail for Bland, which was set at $5,000 and would have cost them $515 to free her.
Numerous attachments include a copy of the autopsy, which determined Bland’s cause of death as a suicide by hanging. Other information includes emails from jail administrators, the jail’s mental-health policies and documents showing suicide-prevention training completed by Magnus and Prudente.
Larry Rogers Jr., one of several lawyers representing Bland’s mother, said Thursday that the motion for summary judgment is “premature” because the plaintiffs have not seen the investigative report into the death.