Sandra Bland’s Mother|Sues for Wrongful Death

     (CN) – Sandra Bland’s mother Tuesday sued the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Waller County Sheriff for the wrongful death of her daughter, who allegedly hung herself in a jail cell three days after she was stopped for a traffic violation.
     Geneva Reed-Veal also sued the arresting state officer, Brian Encinia, and two sheriff’s officer-jailers, Elsa Magnus and Oscar Prudente, in Federal Court.
     The 18-count lawsuit seeks punitive damages for wrongful death, willful and wanton conduct, assault and battery and civil rights violations.
     Bland’s arrest and death set off an uproar in a country already roiled from yearlong protests aimed at police abuse and killings, particularly of black men.
     Bland, who was black, was stopped by Trooper Encinia on July 10 for failing to signal a lane change. In Encinia’s dashcam video, which caught some of the encounter, he threatened to “light you up” with a Taser.
     Three days later she was found dead in her Waller County Jail cell, in Hempstead, Texas. Officials said she hanged herself with a plastic bag.
     Bland’s family and friends challenged the story, saying she had no history of self-destruction, self-abuse or depression, and was excited about having just gotten a new job at Prairie View A&M University, her alma mater.
     Encinia claimed she kicked him during the traffic stop, though that does not appear on the video.
     Bland was obviously not happy to be stopped. When Encinia told her to put out her cigarette, the dashcam captures her asking, “Why do I have to put out a cigarette when I’m in my own car?” Encinia then repeatedly orders her to get out of the car, and she refuses. He finally tries to pull her out, threatening to “light (her) up” with the Taser.
     Her mother doubts that her daughter committed suicide, and said she should not have been arrested at all.
     She is represented by Jesse Thomas Rhodes, of San Antonio.

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