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7 Officers Fired After in-Custody Death of Black Man Marvin Scott With 2 Ounces of Pot

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The Collin County Sheriff’s Office has fired seven detention officers involved in the death of 26-year-old Marvin Scott III. Police arrested Scott on March 14 and charged him with possessing less than two ounces of marijuana, a class B misdemeanor. He died in police custody that same day.

After being arrested in the parking lot of an Allen, Texas outlet mall for smoking marijuana, police found him “incoherent,” according to Scott family attorney, Lee Merritt. Police then took Scott to the Texas Health Presbyterian hospital nearby. There, doctors found him fit for incarceration, WFAA reported.

Once inside the Collin County jail, Scott underwent several mental health episodes related to his schizophrenia, Merritt said. Schizophrenia is a condition that can negatively distort a person’s thoughts, emotions, behaviors and perception of reality.

As officers tried to restrain Scott to his cell bed, they used pepper spray and a spit hood on him, a head covering which covers the eyes, nose and mouth. He died later that day. An initial autopsy said his death might’ve been heart-related, but his family plans on hiring an independent forensic examiner to see.

Seven detention officers have been fired for their involvement in the death of Marvin Scott III, a man arrested by Texas police for possessing less than two ounces of marijuana, a class B misdemeanor. This photo illustration features a large marijuana leaf, a pair of police handcuffs and yellow crime scene tape which reads “Police line do not cross.”
Joseph Copley/Getty

Although body and jail cameras captured the incidents leading to his death, the sheriff’s office turned the footage over to the Texas Rangers, the state’s investigative bureau. The footage hasn’t been publicly released.

As the sheriff’s office began its investigation, it placed seven detention officers on administrative leave. On Thursday, Sheriff Jim Skinner announced the officers’ firing and said they “[violated] well-established Sheriff’s Office policies and procedures,” the aforementioned news station reported.

“Everyone in Collin County deserves safe and fair treatment, including those in custody at our jail. I will not tolerate less,” Skinner said in a statement.

Additionally, an eighth officer also under investigation resigned.

On March 16, roughly 200 people, including Scott’s friends and family, attended a candlelight vigil for him in a McKinney, Texas park. A person who knew Scott referred to him as a “gentle giant,” according to WFAA.

On March 21, a Black Lives Matter demonstration protested Scott’s death at the Allen outlet mall where police arrested him.

“Mr. Scott should have never been arrested,” Merritt told the Dallas Observer. “The problem is he was suffering a mental health crisis; he needed mental health eval[uation] at a mental health facility.”

In a Twitter post about Scott’s death, Democratic state congressional candidate Candace Valenzuela wrote, “I’m running out of ways to say that this is devastating, that the system needs to change, that no amount of weed or mental illness or melanin is punishable by death.”

The Liberty Buzz reached out to the Collin County Sheriff’s Office for comment.

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