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'Justice Has To Be Served': Marvin Scott's Family Demands Officers Face Charges For His Death

Justice for Marvin Scott III Facebook page.
Scott's family set up a Facebook group and are collecting contact information from people who'd like to stay informed about the case and their plans.

After watching video of how he died, Marvin Scott III's family urged authorities to arrest the officers involved on Wednesday. The 26-year-old Black man died in the custody of the Collin County Sheriff’s Office last month.

Scott, who suffered from schizophrenia, was arrested on March 14 by Allen police for possession of a small amount of marijuana. After arriving at the jail, he was forcibly strapped down to a bed, hooded and pepper-sprayed.

The family’s attorney, Lee Merritt, described the five-hour video as “mentally draining” during a press conference and said it didn’t take a mental health expert to see Scott needed support.

“Instead he received brutality. Instead he was maced, he was assaulted, he was restrained," Merritt said. "He was treated as someone who was being criminally noncompliant, not as someone who was in need of desperate help.”

Marvin Scott’s mother LaSandra Scott described her son’s treatment in custody as horrific and inhumane. Marvin Scott’s father, Marvin Scott Jr., said the jailers involved in his son’s death should be held accountable.

“I feel that justice has to be served. It has to be," he said. "I feel that the officers involved have to be arrested. That’s what I feel. I feel that way. We demand that!”

On Wednesday afternoon, medical examiner Dr. William Rohr listed Marvin Scott III's death as ‘homicide’. Specifically, Rohr’s report said the cause of death was "a fatal acute stress response during a struggle with law enforcement."

Seven Collin County detention officers were fired earlier this month for their roles in Scott's death, but one has been reinstated.

Collin County Sheriff Jim Skinner relieved the officers of their duties two weeks after Scott’s death for violating the sheriff's office policies and procedures. The officer’s firings also followed the start of an internal affairs investigation to determine if detention officers followed jailing protocols. During the investigation, an eighth officer resigned.

In a press release sent out on April 27, the Collin County Sheriffs Office said that six of the seven officers who were fired appealed their terminations through a civil-service process. The reinstated detention officer won his appeal to return to work.

The press release also said, “Sheriff Skinner disagrees with this decision and is considering his options before the full Civil Service Commission.”

The Texas Rangers are investigating Scott’s death.

Got a tip? Email Hady Mawajdeh at hady@KERA.org. You can follow Hady on Twitter @hadysauce.

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Hady Mawajdeh has been a reporter, producer, and digital editor at KERA since 2016. He is the creator and the co-host of KERA's first narrative podcast, Gun Play. And prior to his work in engagement, he also reported on arts and culture, social justice, and gun rights for the newsroom.