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The State of Texas: Family Of Sandra Bland Settles Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Plus: Donald Trump clings to a slim lead over Hillary Clinton in Texas, an infamous mattress store reopens in San Antonio, and mysterious blue streaks appear in the sky over Texas.

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QUOTE OF THE DAY


“I think waving a penis around is quite immature.”

C.J. Grisham of Open Carry Texas to Comedy Central’s The Daily Show. Daily Show correspondent Roy Wood Jr., who took on the campus carry debate at the University of Texas at Austin, focused—as any parody news show should—on the battle of absurdity brought by the Cocks Not Glocks movement. 


BIG NEWS


Daija Belcher, 5, holds a sign in front of the DuPage African Methodist Episcopal Church during the funeral service for Sandra Bland on July 25, 2015 in Lisle, Illinois.
Daija Belcher holds a sign in front of the DuPage African Methodist Episcopal Church during the funeral service for Sandra Bland on July 25, 2015 in Lisle, Illinois.

Jonathan Gibby/Getty

Settled
The family of Sandra Bland has agreed to settle its wrongful death lawsuit against Waller County and the Texas Department of Public Safety for a total of $1.9 million, according to the Texas Tribune. The settlement comes more than a year after Bland was found hanging in her cell at Waller County Jail in July 2015, days after she was arrested during a routine traffic stop that turned confrontational. Department of Public Safety Trooper Brian Encinia, who stopped Bland near the Prairie View A&M campus, was indicted on perjury charges in January for allegedly lying on his arrest report about why he made Bland get out of her car. Bland’s mother, Geneva Reed-Veal, filed the wrongful death lawsuit in August 2015, and the case was expected to go to trial next year before the two sides reached Thursday’s agreement. In addition to the payout, the terms of the deal also include a number of reforms promised by Waller County, like implementing deescalation training for state troopers, adding an on-duty nurse at the jail for all shifts, and providing more jailer training on booking and intake screening. A spokesman for the county told the Tribune that, despite the big settlement, they “vigorously deny any fault or wrongdoing.” Reed-Veal, who lives in Illinois, told the Houston Chronicle that she’s “hopeful with this spotlight and this settlement that others don’t have to receive a call from 1,000 miles away that their child is on the way to the morgue,” and she called the settlement “a victory for moms across the country.” But even with the legal battle pretty much over, the Sandra Bland saga continues. On Thursday, State Representative Garnet Coleman, of Houston, said he will introduce legislation named after Bland that would bundle a number of jail and criminal justice reforms.


MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS


Slim Lead
The latest poll shows that Texas is still red, but not by much. The polling people at Texas Lyceum have Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump leading Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton by just seven points among “likely voters,” and Clinton actually leads by one point among all registered voters. Trump holds a pretty commanding 54 to 19 lead over Clinton among whites, while Clinton dominates Trump among black voters, 62 to 2. The poll shows it’s a two-person race. Supporters of third-party candidates Gary Johnson, a Libertarian, and Jill Stein, of the Green Party, don’t add up to a statistically important voter bloc (somewhat disappointingly, Lyceum apparently didn’t add comedic relief write-in candidates Harambe and Deez Nuts to their ballots). Meanwhile, a whopping 17 percent of respondents either had no idea which candidate to vote for or refused to pick a card, any card. Despite the seemingly slim margin, the poll’s research director told the Austin American-Statesman that he doesn’t think Texas is really in play, and expects Trump to win here somewhat comfortably in November.

Never Forget
Miracle Mattress is back in business and begging for forgiveness, according to the San Antonio Express-News. The San Antonio mattress peddler pushed the “all press is good press” axiom to the absolute limit last week, when video surfaced of a new commercial showing the store’s employees mocking 9/11, offering a “Twin Towers” sale before toppling two stacks of mattresses. The tasteless commercial quickly went viral. It goes without saying, but people were pretty outraged, and there was so much negative blowback that the store was forced to shut its doors last Friday. According to the Express-News, the mattress store announced it’ll be reopening soon, and the owner also made his fourth apology, writing in a letter posted on Facebook that the business will donate to a non-profit that provides aid to children and families impacted by terrorism.

Feeling Blue
If you were out and about in Texas in the wee hours of Thursday morning and happened to tilt your head toward the stars, you may have noticed something unusual: a streak in the sky that looked just like someone took a blue crayon and dragged it across the heavens. We assume Mulder and Scully are on it, but in the meantime, here’s the official explanation for the mysterious blue streak: anticrepuscular rays. According to the Houston Chronicle, the streaks were “shadows cast by a passing thunderstorm cloud and illuminated by parallel shafts of sunlight,” referred to as anticrepuscular rays. The blue streaks are along the same scientific lines as those godly beams of light that extend from the sky, something we’ve all seen before. It’s just not usually blue. You can check out viewer-submitted photos of the phenomenon over at KHOU.


WHAT WE’RE READING


Amazon is building a giant wind farm in West Texas Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

San Antonio is “Cougar Town,” USA San Antonio Express-News

Sixth-ranked Houston nearly lost to Cincinnati but was saved by a massive fourth quarter Houston Chronicle

… and the Cougars’s head coach hugs and kisses every single one of his players before each game XOXO SB Nation

A fourteen-year-old sex trafficking survivor in Dallas shares her harrowing story KTVT

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