The death of Marvin Scott III at a Texas detention facility has been ruled a homicide.
Collin County chief medical examiner Dr. William Rohr shared his findings Wednesday, more than a month after Scott died while in custody at the Collin County Jail. The Dallas Morning News reports Allen police officers arrested the 26-year-old Black man on March 14 on marijuana possession charges. Officers say they apprehended Scott at premium outlet mall, where he had been acting “erratic.” Scott was subsequently transferred to an emergency room “due to the possible ingestion of drugs,” He remained at the hospital for about three hours, before he was ultimately booked into Collin County Jail.
Shortly after he arrived at the facility, Scott reportedly began exhibiting “strange behavior,” prompting officers to strap him to a restraint bed before pepper-spraying his face and placing a “spit hood” over his head. Sheriff Jim Skinner said Scott then became unresponsive and was taken to a nearby hospital. He was pronounced dead later that night.
The Collin County’s Medical Examiner released a portion of Dr. Rohr’s findings, which stated Scott’s cause of death was “fatal acute stress response in an individual with previously diagnosed schizophrenia during restraint struggle with law enforcement.” The office is waiting on lab results before releasing the completed autopsy report to the public; however, the medical examiner has listed Scott’s death as a homicide.
Scott’s family viewed footage of the moments leading up to Scott’s death. “What we saw today was horrific, inhumane, very disheartening,” Scott’s mom, LaSandra Scott, said at a press conference Wednesday. “We want these individuals arrested immediately.”
Earlier this month, Skinner confirmed one of the involved officers resigned from his post, and seven others were terminated due to violations of “well-established Sheriff’s Office policies and procedures.” One of those officers, who not been publicly identified, was reinstated last week.
Scott’s family and their attorney, Lee Merritt, are calling on the county to release the officers’ names and charge them with homicide.
“As a result of their failure to act, and as a result of their failure to take steps that they were trained to take when someone’s in mental health distress, Marvin Scott was killed in police custody ...” Merritt told reporters. “What level of homicide will come down to what these men knew. There was certainly reckless indifference. There was certainly negligence. The question of intentionality has not been resolved.”