On Tuesday, the family of Sandra Bland filed suit against Texas State Trooper Brian Encinia, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Waller County Sheriff’s Office, and other jail employees for the wrongful death of the 28-year-old.
According to The Washington Post, the suit targets Encinia for violating Bland’s constitutional rights, claiming that Bland suffered physical injury, mental anguish, damages, and death as a result. It also accuses the Waller County Sheriff’s Office of failing to adequately monitor Bland by executing mandatory face-to-face checks every 60 minutes and neglecting thorough medical care.
“What remains constant is that she should not have been there in the first place,” said Bland’s sister, Sharon Cooper, at a news conference Tuesday.
As previously reported, Bland was pulled over by Encinia for failing to signal a lane switch on the evening of July 13. While Encinia initially said he would let Bland off on a warning, things quickly escalated when Bland refused to put out her cigarette.
Encinia then forced Bland out of her car, violently threw her to the ground and arrested her for assault on a public servant. Three days later, Bland was found dead in her Waller County jail cell from an alleged suicide.
While the family still awaits results from their independent autopsy, Encinia has been placed on “administrative duty,” despite the fact that department officials have said that Encinia violated police policies during the traffic stop. According to the suit, Encinia has a history of “escalating encounters with the public.”
Cannon Lambert Sr., an attorney for the family, said Bland’s relatives still have not received answers to questions about “inconsistencies that have been documented” about what transpired inside the jail. Lambert also motioned for Encinia to be fired and for the Justice Department to launch a separate investigation into Bland’s death.
“We are looking for Waller County and the individuals involved in this situation to take accountability,” Lambert said. “This family is frustrated — they’re frustrated because we don’t feel like that has happened.