U.S. District Judge David Hittner set a 2017 trial date for a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old Chicago area woman who was stopped for a minor traffic violation in July, and later found hanging in a Texas cell.
Despite the medical examiner’s ruling Bland’s death was a suicide, Bland’s family refutes the claim, and is seeking an undisclosed amount in damages from the state trooper that stopped her, Brian Encinia, Texas Department of Public Safety, Waller County and two jailers.
The trial date has been set for January 23, 2017. Cannon Lambert, the Bland family attorney told Judge Hittner he couldn’t accept that Bland, who moved to Texas to take a job at Prairie View A&M University, hung herself in her jail cell with a plastic garbage bag simply because his legal team wasn’t able to examine the report.
“We’ve not had occasion to assess fingerprints on the ligature,” Lambert told the judge. “A lot of information we frankly don’t have. We’re not able to finish our own medical investigation.”