7 Texas officers fired in the death of 26-year-old Marvin Scott
A probe is underway into the in-custody death of a man with mental issues being held for misdemeanor marijuana possession.
Seven sheriff’s officers in Collin County, Texas linked to a Black man’s death in custody last month were fired Thursday.
An eighth officer resigned.
Marvin D. Scott III, 26, died after being restrained while being held on a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge on March 14. Police allege that Scott was acting “erratically.” He was taken to the hospital by Allen Police officers, later their headquarters, then Collin County Jail, where he was restrained and pepper-sprayed. According to reports, a spit hood was placed over his head, and he later died.
“Evidence I have seen confirms that these detention officers violated well-established Sheriff’s Office policies and procedures,” Sheriff Jim Skinner said in a statement.
Since his death, members of Scott’s family have gathered outside the Collin County Sheriff’s Office. “We want to know, how did my son die? We want answers!” said Marvin’s mother, LaSandra Scott, during a news conference.
The family has hired civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, who contracted a forensic pathologist to conduct an independent autopsy in the case.
Friday, Sheriff Skinner stood before cameras and assured viewers an official probe was taking place.
“I’m not here to make excuses for anyone,” he said. “People are upset. Families are upset. The community is upset. I’m upset. The death of this man is a profound tragedy, and we have an obligation to uncover the full and complete truth — firm, concrete and factual information. And that’s exactly what the Texas Rangers and my Internal Affairs investigators are doing at this moment.”
Amy Gruszecki, who conducted a second autopsy on Scott, told NBC 5 “the investigation and history that is available to me so far is that he was restrained and had a spit hood on his head, so the physical struggle of the restraint, as well as the possible asphyxia from the restraint, would likely be causes of his death, and a negative autopsy, meaning no injuries, no blunt force trauma, is consistent with that.”
According to Merritt, Scott had a history of mental issues and had previously been transported to a mental health facility during other interactions with police.
“We found the initial arrest inappropriate; this was not something someone needed an arrest for, to be quite frank, Marvin was suffering a mental health crisis in a public place,” Merritt said. “He needed help to a facility, they failed to do that. They took him into custody instead, and, in custody, he died.”