January 2017 trial date set for Sandra Bland wrongful-death suit

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A judge set a January 2017 trial date in the civil lawsuit filed by the family of Sandra Bland against Waller County, DPS, Trooper Brian Encinia and a few other jailers who came in contact with Bland.

Bland's mother, Geneva Reed-Veal, along with other family members and supporters in the community gathered at the federal courthouse downtown for a status hearing in the civil case.

"I'm coming here before you to tell you I'm not OK," Reed-Veal said. "Coming out of this hearing today, I'm not OK. My daughter is gone. I have now celebrated one holiday without her. It is tough. I walked into these doors with continuations, dates, delays. I'm coming out of these doors with continuations, dates and delays."

Bland's attorneys want access to evidence being presented to the grand jury in the ongoing criminal case, but the legality of that is debatable.

"We're not even sure that the plastic bag was fingerprinted. And so if the grand jury is supposed to be trying to make a determination on whether or not there should be an indictment, you'd think that the instrument of death would have been fingerprinted," Attorney Cannon Lambert said. "We don't have any evidence to indicate that's the case."

Then there is the issue of immunity. The attorney representing the Department of Public Safety and Trooper Brian Encinia thinks both are protected from being sued based on the law.

The judge has not ruled on that yet, but instead set a civil trial date for January 23, 2017.
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