BOISE and NAMPA, Idaho. Earlier this month, the Chicago Tribune reported that the family of Sandra Bland, an African American woman who died in a Texas jail, will receive a $1.9 million settlement for her wrongful death. The family hopes that the settlement will result in jail and criminal justice reform. The wrongful death settlement agreement includes changes in the ways inmates will be monitored in the Texas jail where Bland was found dead. The family hopes that additional oversight will prevent deaths of inmates in custody. As a result of the settlement, the Texas jail where Bland was held will invest more money in training officers and will hire emergency personnel to be on staff at all times.
Bland’s situation is part of a larger dialogue about police brutality, shootings, and the ways inmates are treated in U.S. prisons. More families and communities are speaking up when officers injure or kill individuals during police encounters. Bland’s case also highlights the risk that black women, in particular, face when they enter the criminal justice system. Unfair treatment, police brutality, and lack of proper care in jails, puts many inmates in danger and at risk every year. Jails don’t always provide inmates with access to medical care, medicines, or medical attention, when it is needed. The case has raised awareness of the risk of suicides in jail and has led to a discussion about what measures could be put in place to prevent them.
The wrongful death award to Bland’s family comes in the wake of other high-profile wrongful death claims filed against police and cities across the country. Quartz reported that the family of Tamil Rice received $6 million, that the family of Freddy Gray received $6.4 million, and that the family of Eric Garner received $5.9 million. Families who pursue cities and police for the wrongful deaths of their loved ones, often seek compensation as a means to raise awareness and fast-track changes to the way local and state police departments train their officers.
In some cases, it isn’t until police departments, cities, and states face losing large sums of money due to a lawsuit that they decide to make changes. Lawsuits for wrongful deaths and injuries can sometimes cost the city and state much more than it would cost to train officers properly, install body or police car cameras, and enact proper reform.
Police brutality is a serious matter and it continues to happen on a regular basis across communities and neighborhoods. It is important to know that you have important rights under the law if you have been hurt by a police officer. The Law Office of Johnson & Lundgreen handle diverse wrongful death cases, and may be able to assist you if you have suffered an injury due to another person’s neglect, negligence, error, or lack of training.
There are many ways families can fight for their rights when their loved ones are injured while in police custody. Many families are pursuing wrongful death claims and personal injury claims when their loved ones are hurt in police custody. Visit http://johnsonandlundgreen.com/ to learn more about how wrongful death law can protect you.