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Sandra Bland Family Reaches $1.9M Wrongful Death Deal: Lawyer

The Waller County Sheriff's Office has also agreed to install automated sensors to assure accurate and timely cell checks at its jail.
Sandra BlandNBC News

The family of Sandra Bland, the Texas woman found dead in a jail cell after a routine traffic stop last year, has reached a wrongful death settlement with the county for $1.9 million, a family attorney said Thursday.

In addition to settling the civil suit, the Waller County Sheriff's Office has agreed to install automated sensors to assure accurate and timely cell checks at the jail and staff an on-duty nurse around-the-clock, attorney Cannon Lambert told NBC News.

Related: Grand Jury Issues No Indictments in Jail Death of Sandra Bland

The Waller County Jail will also seek state legislation for more funding to improve booking, screening and training at the facility.

An attorney for Waller County and two jailers involved in the case said the deal must still be finalized by the county commissioners' court, but declined to confirm the details citing a confidentiality agreement.

"The Waller County defendants also emphasize they vigorously deny any fault or wrongdoing, and the potential settlement does not involve any such admissions," attorney Larry Simmons said in a statement.

Sandra Bland

Bland, a 28-year-old African American woman from suburban Chicago, had just moved to Waller County in July 2015 seeking a job at her alma mater, Prairie View A&M University.

A state trooper had pulled her over for failing to signal a lane change — an interaction captured on his dashcam video and later made public.

The situation escalated after Bland appeared to pull out her cellphone and record the stop, and Trooper Brian Ecinia said in affidavit that she was becoming "combative and uncooperative."

Bland was taken to jail and booked on a third-degree felony charge. She was found hanging in her cell three days later with a plastic garbage bag around her neck.

Months earlier, Bland had posted on Facebook about her depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, but her family disputed that she had exhibited feelings of despair in recent weeks.

"Thirteen months later, we still don't have answers," Geneva Reed-Veal, Bland's mother, told MSNBC on Thursday.

Meanwhile, her death prompted protests over suspicions of foul play and outrage over police treatment of minorities.

A grand jury in December decided not to bring any charges related to her death, although the Texas Department of Public Safety fired Encinia in March after he was indicted on a perjury charge.

It's unclear the details of that charge, but it is tied to Encinia claiming Bland was "combative and uncooperative" after he stopped her and had to take her out of her car, The Associated Press reported.

Reed-Veal said that although the potential changes at the Waller County Jail can't help her daughter, they would "prevent a lot of lives from being lost."

"This is not the end of anything, it's the beginning of much more work still yet to be done," Reed-Veal said.