Sandra Bland Case: No Indictments, But ‘It’s Not Over’

Austin, Texas (TexasTribune) – A Waller County grand jury Monday decided not to indict anyone, including county jail employees, in the death of Sandra Bland, but examination of the case is not over, special prosecutor Darrell Jordan said.

The panel will reconvene in January to consider other possible charges, Jordan said.

Jordan, citing the confidentiality of the grand jury system, would not say what those charges could be.

“It’s not over,” he said.

On July 10, Bland was pulled over in Prairie View by state Department of Pubic Safety trooper Brian Encinia for failing to signal a lane change. The encounter soon became heated, and Encinia arrested Bland. Three days later, she was found hanged to death in a Waller County Jail cell. Bland’s death, ruled a suicide, raised questions about jail safety standards, mental health checks and race and policing.

Sandra Bland Image Source: Sheriff Department

Sandra Bland
Image Source: Sheriff Department

Bland’s mother, Geneva Reed-Veal, is suing the Department of Public Safety, Waller County and individual law enforcement officers, including Encinia. She claims in court documents that all defendants played a role in denying Bland her constitutional rights, which ultimately led to her death.

A Houston-based federal judge last Thursday set a trial date for Jan. 23, 2017, in the Bland wrongful death suit.

Encinia and DPS claim sovereign immunity under the 11th Amendment, which broadly protects states and its institutions from being sued by individuals in federal courts.

Waller County denies any wrongdoing, saying Bland did not say she was having suicidal thoughts at the time of her two screenings, throughout the booking process or while detained. Her family also said she was not suicidal, the county argues. She killed herself, they say, after failed attempts to get family, friends and bondsmen to help post her approximately $515 bond.

Terri Langford contributed to this report.

This report prepared by  for Texas Tribune.

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