The family of Marvin Scott III, who died last month after being incarcerated in Collin County, urged the district attorney on Monday to release information about the case and prosecute the prison guards involved.
Since Scott’s death on March 14, his relatives and their attorneys have said they have not seen any video footage from the Collin County Jail or received any answers about what happened in his final moments.
“We watch other young black men being murdered by officials across the country. Body cameras and videos are posted within 35 hours. So 35 days is not acceptable, ”said June Jenkins, president of the NAACP’s Collin County Chapter.
Civil rights attorney Blerim Elmazi speaks at a Collin County NAACP press conference at the Collin County Courthouse in McKinney, TX on April 19, 2021. The press conference followed Marvin’s family reunion with the Collin County Attorney’s Office to obtain information on the status of Marvin’s case. (Shelby Tauber / Special Contributor)
Attorney Blerim Elmazi said Monday’s request followed a meeting with prosecutors to get answers on what happened after Allen police arrested Scott, 26, for possession of marijuana after officers put him in next to a joint that Allen Premium Outlets found.
“This district attorney was elected and accountable to the people of Collin County,” he said. “We hope that the DA office will do its job here, presenting this case to the grand jury, bringing charges and vigorously pursuing everyone involved.”
Scott’s family and supporters have gathered outside the sheriff’s office every night since his death, demanding the arrest of the officers.
On April 1, Collin County Sheriff Jim Skinner announced the dismissal of seven inmates in connection with Scott’s death. An eighth officer resigned during his investigation. The Texas Rangers are investigating whether the former prison guards acted illegally, Skinner said, but no agency has released camera footage or the names of the former employees despite multiple requests.
Civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, who also represents Scott’s family, said Scott was diagnosed with schizophrenia and was likely suffering from a mental crisis when he was arrested. Scott was on medication and hadn’t had a psychotic break in more than a year, Merritt said.
Police first took Scott to the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Allen and he was jailed that evening after a doctor discharged him from the hospital.
The sheriff said at a news conference on March 19 that Scott “behaved strange” while in the booking area.
Skinner said several officers tried to strap Scott to a restraint bed and sprayed him with pepper spray during the process.
The sheriff’s office also confirmed that an officer placed his finger on a pressure point under Scott’s jaw and pushed his head up in what Merritt called a “pain compliance technique” that many law enforcement agencies do not use.
A spit hood was placed over Scott’s head at 10:22 p.m., four hours after he was taken to jail. Spit hoods are loose cloth bags that an inmate can use to prevent spit or bite and prevent the spread of bloodborne diseases.
Scott was taken to Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in McKinney after becoming unresponsive and pronounced dead in the hospital. The Collin County medical examiner’s office has not disclosed the cause of his death. Scott’s family hired a forensic pathologist to perform an independent autopsy.