The family of Marvin Scott III, who died after he was jailed in Collin County last month, called upon the district attorney Monday to release information about the case and prosecute the jailers who were involved.
Since Scott’s death on March 14, his relatives and their attorneys say they have not seen any video footage from the Collin County Jail or received answers about what happened in his final moments.
“We watch around the country as other young Black men are murdered by officers … body cameras and videos are released within 35 hours. So 35 days is not acceptable,” said June Jenkins, president of the Collin County chapter of the NAACP.
Attorney Blerim Elmazi said Monday’s request followed a meeting with prosecutors to seek answers about what happened after Allen police arrested Scott, 26, on a marijuana possession charge after officers found him sitting next to a joint at the Allen Premium Outlets.
“This district attorney was elected by the people of Collin County and is accountable to them,” he said. “We hope that the DA’s office here does its job presenting this case to the grand jury, securing indictments and vigorously prosecuting all people involved.”
Scott’s family and supporters have been gathering outside the sheriff’s office every evening since his death, calling for the officers’ arrests.
On April 1, Collin County Sheriff Jim Skinner announced the terminations of seven jailers in connection with Scott’s death. An eighth officer resigned during his investigation. The Texas Rangers are examining whether the former jailers acted unlawfully, Skinner said, but neither agency has released any camera footage or the names of the former employees despite multiple requests.
Civil-rights attorney Lee Merritt, who is also representing Scott’s family, has said Scott had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and was probably suffering a mental-health crisis when he was arrested. Scott was on medication and had not experienced a psychotic break in more than a year, Merritt said.
Police first took Scott to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Allen, and he was taken to the jail that evening after a doctor released him from the hospital.
The sheriff said at a March 19 news conference that Scott “exhibited some strange behavior” while he was in the booking area.
Skinner said several officers tried to strap Scott to a restraint bed and pepper-sprayed him during that process.
The sheriff’s office also confirmed that one officer put his finger on a pressure point below Scott’s jaw and forced his head upward, something Merritt called a “pain compliance technique” that many law-enforcement agencies abstain from using.
A spit hood was placed over Scott’s head at 10:22 p.m., four hours after he was booked into the jail. Spit hoods are loose fabric sacks that are used to keep an inmate from spitting or biting, and to prevent the spread of bloodborne disease.
Scott was taken to Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in McKinney after he became unresponsive, and he was pronounced dead at the hospital. The Collin County medical examiner’s office has not released his cause of death; Scott’s family has hired a forensic pathologist to conduct an independent autopsy.