Sandra Bland’s family got a big settlement, but no one went to jail for her death

Sandra Bland died in police custody in Waller County, Texas after being pulled over for allegedly not using her turn signal in July 2015, and this week, her family won a wrongful death lawsuit. Although no one will see jail time for the 28-year-old black woman’s death, Bland’s family won a $1.9 million settlement, finalized Wednesday night. A bill named after Bland will also be introduced in the state legislature seeking more funding for local jails and improved training for jail personnel.

Waller County has acknowledged some of the things I was concerned about, so others won’t have to go through what Sandy did,” Bland’s mother, Geneva Reed-Veal, told The Chicago Tribune. “I think it’s a great day for mothers across the country.” The new law will include changes involving using automated electronic sensors to ensure timely cell checks, providing an on-duty staff nurse or emergency medical technician for all shifts, and providing continuing education for jailer screening, according to CNN, as well as de-escalation training for state troopers who conduct roadside stops. Of course, the bill has to be written, actually pass through the legislature, and be signed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, so none of that is guaranteed.

“Her name will be spoken and known for generations to come,” Reed-Veal told The Tribune. “That’s what I was concerned about, her legacy. If a dime weren’t made, that’s OK.”

Waller County will pay $1.8 million of the settlement and the Texas Department of Public Safety will pay $100,000, though it hasn’t been revealed whether or not the county officially claimed responsibility for the death or simply settled to avoid a trial. It is worth noting that $1.8 million is a lot of money for a small Texas county to fork over.

Bland’s death was ruled a suicide by the authorities when she was found dead in her jail cell three days after being detained. Reed-Veal always maintained that Bland shouldn’t have been in jail in the first place and filed the wrongful death lawsuit in August 2015.

No one was indicted for her death, and the arresting state trooper, Brian Encinia, was only indicted on perjury charges and fired from his job for allegedly lying about the arrest, so no one was actually found responsible for the death that sparked national Black Lives Matter protests and highlighted how black women also face police discrimination and brutality. However, her family still insists she wouldn’t have killed herself.