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Black inmate’s death in Texas jail struggle ruled homicide

McKinney, Texas (AP) – The death of a Black man while struggling with detention officers at a Texas jail during what his family members say probably was a mental health crisis has been ruled a homicide.

Marvin Scott III died last month after he was jailed in Collin County on a marijuana possession charge. Seven jailers were fired, and one resigned, and Scott‘s family is calling for their arrest after viewing a video from inside the jail of Scott‘s last moments.

”What we’ve seen today is horrific, inhumane, very disheartening, and we want these individuals arrested immediately,” said Scott’s mother, LaSandra Scott.

Scott, 26, died of “fatal acute stress response in an individual with previously diagnosed schizophrenia during restraint struggle with law enforcement,” the Collin County Medical Examiner’s Office said Wednesday.

A spokesman for the Collin County Sheriff’s Office declined to comment on the possibility of arrests because the Texas Rangers are conducting a criminal investigation, the Dallas Morning News reported. The Texas Rangers said it is still an ongoing investigation, and they cannot release further details now. A Collin County district attorney’s spokesman said the office doesn’t comment on pending cases.

The video, which did not have audio, lasted about five hours and showed Scott “rapidly deteriorating,” said civil rights lawyer Lee Merritt, representing Scott’s family. The video hasn’t been made public. The family watched it with Collin County prosecutors, the newspaper reported.


One of the fired jailers has been reinstated through the civil services process, which Sheriff Jim Skinner has said he disagreed with. “Sheriff Skinner has said that this is an incredible tragedy, and he continues to stand by that today,” Capt. Nick Bristow said.

Scott was arrested on March 14 at an outlet mall in Allen on a charge of possessing less than two ounces of marijuana, authorities have said. Allen officers took Scott to a hospital because he was reportedly acting erratically. He was released, and police took him to the county jail.

While at the jail, Scott began to exhibit “some strange behavior,” Skinner said at a March 19 news conference. Detention officers placed Scott on a restraint bed, sprayed pepper, and covered his face with a spit mask. Scott became unresponsive at some point and was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

The jailers’ names have not been released, but Zach Horn, an attorney representing six of them, said the medical examiner’s report concluded that they did nothing wrong.

“Today’s press release from the Collin County medical examiner confirms there is no evidence that my clients committed any misconduct,” Horn said Wednesday. “Facts, evidence, and the law will dictate the outcome of this matter, not false accusations.”

Molly Aronson

I'm an award-winning blogger who enjoys all things creative but is especially passionate about lifestyle design. I blog over at mehlogy.com I love that I get to share my passion for healthy living, fashion, fitness, and travel with readers from all over the world.

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