During an emotional press conference Tuesday, the family of Sandra Bland announced the filing of a lawsuit against officials in Texas that seeks to push the individuals involved in her jail cell death to “take accountability,” according to the family’s lawyer.
Speaking to reporters, attorney Cannon Lambert Sr. discussed the lawsuit against Texas Trooper Brian Encinia (the law enforcement officer who arrested Bland), two jailers at the Waller County jail, the sheriff of Waller County, and the Texas Department of Public Safety, USA Today reports.
“We are looking for Waller County and the individuals involved to take accountability,” said Cannon Lambert Sr., who is representing the family.
“Mr. Encinia is still employed and it doesn’t make sense that the taxpayers are paying for the type of service that he employed on July 10,” Lambert said.
“This family needs an answer to the principle question of what happened to Sandra Bland. It’s why we filed suit,” he said.
Though an autopsy commissioned by the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences revealed Bland died of an apparent suicide by hanging on July 13, Bland’s family members have refused to accept the answers given by authorities involved in her arrest, making the case that Bland had no reason to commit suicide. The 28-year-old had just moved to Texas from Illinois and was set to start a new job at her alma mater, Prairie View A&M University.
Bland would never start that job. She was found dead in her jail cell just three days after Encinia arrested her for failure to signal while changing lanes. Disturbing video of her arrest shows how quickly Bland and Encinia’s encounter escalated after he told her to put out her cigarette. In the video, Encinia roughly handled Bland. At one point he threatened her with a Taser, although she told him she had epilepsy.
“I watched the video once. I will not watch it again,” said Geneva Reed-Beal, Bland’s mother. She said watching the video she felt “anger, disgust, disappointment and sadness. I have chosen to channel those feelings in another way. … I am angry.”
Reed-Beal wants to know: “What happened to my daughter? What happened to Sandy Bland? Where is the continual tape” to show her arrival through the day?
Bland’s death is currently being investigated by Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis with help from the FBI.
SOURCE: USA Today | VIDEO SOURCE: NDN