The manner of Marvin Scott III’s death has been listed as homicide, Collin County announced Wednesday.
The Collin County Medical Examiner determined that his cause of death was “fatal acute stress response in an individual with previously diagnosed schizophrenia during restraint struggle with law enforcement,” according to a county statement. Scott, a 26-year-old Frisco man, died while in custody at the Collin County jail on March 14 after being physically restrained and maced.
The Medical Examiner’s office is still waiting on lab results before completing a final autopsy report, the county stated.
Scott, who was reportedly schizophrenic, was arrested in Allen on March 14 for possession of less than two ounces of marijuana, a Class B misdemeanor. After being admitted and discharged from Texas Presbyterian Hospital in Allen, he was booked in the Collin County Detention Center, where Collin County Sheriff Jim Skinner said he “exhibited some strange behavior” while in custody.
Officers reportedly tied him to a restraint bed, maced him and fastened a spit mask on his face. After being unresponsive, officers rushed him to Baylor Scott and White Medical Center in McKinney, where he was pronounced dead.
The county’s announcement came on the same day that Scott’s family watched video footage of events in the Collin County Detention Facility leading up to his death. The family held a press conference at the Collin County Courthouse after watching hours of footage.
“What we’ve seen today was horrific, inhumane, very disheartening,” Scott’s mother, LaSandra Scott, said. “And we want these individuals arrested immediately.”
Scott’s father, Marvin Scott Jr., said after reviewing the video, he felt justice needed to be served.
“I feel that the officers involved have to be arrested, that’s what I feel,” he said. “I feel that way. We demand that. And let’s hope that it’s soon. Sooner than later.”
Lee Merritt, a civil rights attorney hired by Scott’s family, called on Collin County District Attorney Greg Willis and his office to immediately issue arrest warrants for those involved.
Merritt said the video footage that the family viewed on Wednesday had all been from the Collin County facility.
“The video shows Marvin clearly expressing that he was in distress,” Merritt said. “The video shows signs that any neutral observer could see that this person was rapidly deteriorating and needed help, and instead of responding with medical professionals, instead of helping Marvin to a facility that would be able to treat him, he was brutalized, he was maced, he was restrained physically. Several officers kneeled on top of him. We cannot hear what he is saying. There’s no audio captured in that video, and that’s disappointing, and so it’ll come down to what those witness statements are.”
Video footage has not been released to the public.
“We need arrests to be made immediately, we expect a full and thorough presentation to the grand jury at the earliest possible time so that the grand jury can formally indict these men, we expect full prosecutions,” Merritt said. “We expect these men to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Merritt also called on the names and images of the officers involved to be released, which he said was important for a full investigation. He added that they needed copies of the files for those involved, which he said has been denied.
The comments come after the Collin County Sheriff’s Office announced that one of the seven detention officers fired in relation to Scott’s death had been reinstated following an appeal process.
“Sheriff [Jim] Skinner terminated these detention officers’ employment following the Sheriff’s Office’s internal affairs investigation, which concluded that the officers violated well-established Sheriff’s Office policies and procedures,” a statement from the office said. “Sheriff Skinner disagrees with this decision and is considering his options before the full Civil Service Commission.”
The name of the officer has not been released.
“We still don’t have his name, we don’t know what role he played, in the Collin County facility what we saw was six officers engaging Marvin,” Merritt said. “Seven officers were terminated, one resigned, which person played which role is still a big mystery to us.”
Merritt said after watching the video footage, the appropriate charge was some level of homicide. He said the level of homicide would depend on what those involved knew, what their training was and what their previous experiences had been. He declined to state how many officers should be charged.
Garrett Gravley contributed to this report.