After a grand jury refused to indict any Waller County jail employees in the death of Sandra Bland, who was found hanging in her cell after a traffic stop arrest, her family launched a federal wrongful death lawsuit.
Geneva Reed-Veal, Bland’s mother, has become a brave voice for change in the law enforcement practices that she believes led to her daughter’s death. This week, their lawsuit was settled for $1.9 million, but the agreement also included a list of demands for changes in the department, from an on-call nurse stationed at the jail to electronic cell checks. She told BuzzFeed, “People won’t be satisfied with just money. We need to make sure that they are making change that will save lives.”
While Bland’s death was ruled a suicide, Reed-Veal and others in her family have remained suspicious, and at the very least wish to see police procedure change in Texas and elsewhere.
“Nobody just rolls over and says, ‘Here you go,’” she said — but she is ultimately pleased with the outcome, and what it means for cases moving forward.
“Now that it’s happening, I’m sure it will set a precedent across the country,” she said. “People won’t be satisfied with just money. We need to make sure that they are making change that will save lives.”
The settlement also came with a pledge from a Waller County judge to seek state legislation that will allocate money to police training. Any new laws created this way will be named after Bland.