7 Texas Cops Fired After Black Man Dies in Custody

Illustration for article titled 7 Texas Cops Fired After Black Man Dies in Custody
Photo: Dan Henson (Shutterstock)

Seven cops were fired on Thursday after a Black man died while being held in a Texas jail.

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According to the Associated Press, Marvin Scott III, 26, was arrested on March 14 at an Allen, Texas, outlet mall for marijuana possession. Officers initially took Scott to a hospital because they said he was acting erratically. After Scott was eventually released, he was taken to jail where Collin County Sheriff Jim Skinner said in a news release that his erratic behavior continued.

Detention officers responded by restraining him, pepper spraying him, and putting a spit mask on him—because apparently that’s what cops define as a reasonable response. At some point during the incident, Scott lost consciousness and was later pronounced dead after he was taken to a hospital.

Scott’s family has said that Scott was schizophrenic and it’s possible he could’ve been suffering from a mental health crisis. The family said they have hired a forensic pathologist to provide an independent autopsy to determine Scott’s cause of death.

If a man suffering from mental illness dying after cops put a spit mask on him sounds familiar, well, it should, as the circumstances of Scott’s death are tragically similar to Daniel Prude’s in Rochester, N.Y., last year.

In the news release, Skinner revealed that seven officers had been fired as their actions during the incident violated several of the sheriff’s office policies and procedures, while an eighth had resigned. The names and races of the officers have not been publicly released, and an investigation into Scott’s death is currently being conducted by the Texas Rangers.

A statement from civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, who is representing Scott’s family, notes that the officers were fired a day after Scott’s funeral.

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“Just one day after the funeral of Marvin Scott III, the Collin County Sheriff has fired seven detention officers in connection with his death,” the statement said. “We are pleased with this decision and consider this progress.” The statement went on to call for the officers to be arrested and charged with Scott’s death.

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DISCUSSION

Makes Me Wonder Why I Even Bring The Thunder

It appears that there are jurisdictions where it is not the police, but the arrestee (and whatever medical insurance they may have) that is on the hook for medical expenses prior to booking.

Officers initially took Scott to a hospital because they said he was acting erratically. After Scott was eventually released, he was taken to jail where Collin County Sheriff Jim Skinner said in a news release that his erratic behavior continued.

Clearly, these detention officers can not be entrusted with any such responsibility, but this is also a story where another Black person was released from the hospital, only to be brought back to be pronounced dead.