As more details surrounding the death of Frisco resident Marvin D. Scott III continue to surface, protesters are asking the Collin County Sheriff’s Department to arrest the seven detention officers that were placed on administrative leave.
One of these demonstrations happened at the Collin County Courthouse on Thursday afternoon, where dozens of activists gathered to promptly march to the Collin County Detention Center where Scott was processed. Amid this march, demonstrators chanted, “No justice / No peace” and “Say his name / Marvin Scott III.”
The Scott family’s attorney, civil rights lawyer S. Lee Merritt, was the focal point of the march.
As the crowd made it to the detention center, almost all of the participants entered the jail’s reception area and circled around the front desk, where three receptionists were working. While some protesters yelled and pressed themselves against the plexiglass, Merritt maintained a cordial tone and politely requested an opportunity for Sheriff Jim Skinner to address the crowd.
A conversation between Merritt and the receptionist continued after the latter made a phone call and left a voicemail message.
“We’re very specific with what we’re asking for: do you guys know the seven [officers on administrative leave]?” Merritt said.
“I have as much information as you – well, less, probably,” the receptionist replied. “We work here, and we don’t even know who they were.”
Once the requests for comment from Skinner reached an impasse, the crowd went outside and marched to the adjacent front entrance of the sheriff’s office, whose doors were locked. Protesters knocked on the windows and shook the revolving door while chanting, “Open the door.” They later marched back to the jail and gathered around the facility’s bonds window, where they continued knocking and chanting.
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock,” chanted Merritt through a megaphone, quoting Revelation 3:20.
The march proceeded outside, where the crowd walked around the complex’s perimeter. As the march continued, Scott’s mother, LaSandra Scott, made an emotional request to the group of protesters.
“This has to be very spiritual for me,” she said. “I lost my son, and it’s very, very, very emotional looking at you. I don’t want anybody to get hurt, anybody to get tear-gassed or anything. The purpose of this protest is peace, and we just want the seven officer’s names, and we want them to be arrested. That’s what this is about, so it’s OK to knock and everything, but I don’t want anybody to get hurt.”
Minutes later, Collin County Sheriff’s Department Assistant Chief Anthony Carter greeted Merritt and the crowd in an attempt to address concerns.
“I appreciate you guys and your time coming out here and talking and protesting peacefully, and that’s how you get things resolved, but I will say that this investigation has been turned [to the Texas Rangers],” Carter said, in response to Merritt’s assertions that there is sufficient probable cause to arrest the seven detention officers on administrative leave.
Per Carter’s request, he and Merritt deliberated in a closed space at the Sheriff’s Office and continued speaking privately. Though this exchange lasted over 30 minutes, Merritt returned and addressed the crowd with a discouraged tone.
“He felt offended by how I spoke to him,” he said. “Officer Carter [said] he was going to carry that message back to the sheriff. The sheriff hid in the office.”
Merritt expressed intent to escalate this case to the office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and vowed to run against him in 2022 if arrests were not made “as soon as possible.”
Another protest happened at the Collin County Detention Center at 9 p.m. that evening, where protesters planned on blocking the roadway where officers book and process inmates. While Merritt advised of the illegality of such an act, some protesters said they would risk incarceration to carry out such a protest.
Despite this, no emergency vehicles drove through the roadway. Sheriff’s Department arrest records show that 11 seemingly unrelated arrests were made in Collin County on Thursday between 9 p.m. to 11:59 p.m., the same time that protesters gathered.
More protests are continuing to be organized in the county as outrage continues to culminate surrounding Scott’s death. In a Friday press conference, Skinner told reporters, “The death of Marvin David Scott III is a tragedy. On Tuesday, I met with Marvin’s family and his attorney to express my condolences and to try to answer any questions that I could.”
Skinner said that Scott was pronounced dead at Baylor Scott & White McKinney on Sunday night after exhibiting “strange behavior” while in custody, for which detention officers secured him in a restraint bed, “used O.C. [pepper] spray once” and placed a spit mask on his face.
The circumstances surrounding Scott’s death are being investigated by the Texas Rangers.