Marvin Scott III, who had a history of schizophrenia, died in custody in March
Officials in Texas have released distressing video showing the events leading up to the in-custody death of Marvin Scott III after he was arrested on misdemeanor drug possession charges.
The 41 minutes of jail security footage released on Friday by the Collins County Sheriff’s Office shows Scott struggling with jailers, who pepper spray him, strap him to a restraint bed and place a spit hood over his head.
Scott, a black man who was 26, then becomes unresponsive and officers are seen trying to revive him by rubbing knuckles over his sternum as they remove the spit hood.
Scott’s family, who had previously viewed the video after his death on March 14, has called the footage ‘horrific’ and argued that it clearly shows him in a mental health crisis. He had previously been diagnosed with schizophrenia.
The Collins County Sheriff’s Office is not commenting on the portion of the video released on Friday due to potential legal action, according to Fox 4.
The office did clarify that the video has no sound because the jail’s surveillance video doesn’t have sound, and says that some faces were intentionally blurred.
‘In March 2021, Collin County Sheriff Jim Skinner met with the family of Marvin Scott III and promised transparency regarding the investigation and facts surrounding his in-custody death,’ the Collin County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement to CBS Dallas.
Officials in Texas have released distressing video showing the events leading up to the death of Marvin Scott III after he was arrested on misdemeanor drug possession charges
The 41 minutes of jail security footage released on Friday by the Collins County Sheriff’s Office shows Scott struggling with jailers
Jailers then bring Scott to a restraint bed as he continues to struggle with them
The video opens with footage of Scott in a hallway struggling with several jailers.
About three minutes into the video, they bring him into a room with a restraint bed. As four officers hold Scott down and place him in restraints, a fifth officer is seen spraying him in the face with pepper spray.
One of the officers then places a spit hood on Scott as he is restrained. Spit hoods are typically used on inmates who attempt
For about 17 minutes, Scott is strapped down, moving periodically. Then around 18 minutes after being restrained, one officer pulls down the spit hood and another begins rubbing Scott’s sternum, a technique to wake someone up if they are asleep.
With Scott unresponsive, an officer then begins CPR, before medical staff enter the room and attempt to resuscitate him. Scott was transported to a hospital, where he was declared dead.
The footage comes after a grand jury in Texas last month cleared eight former officers of any criminal wrongdoing in Scott’s death.
The Collin County Grand Jury had reviewed the video footage of the incident and heard testimonies from witness before coming to the decision not to indict the eight officers, the county’s District Attorney Greg Willis said in a statement.
The eight officers who were dismissed in April following the death of Marvin D. Scott III will not be charged with any state criminal offense.
One officer is seen pepper spraying Scott as other try to get the restraints on him
Jailers are seen placing a spit hood over Scott’s head. Spit hoods are used on prisoners who try to spit at or bite officers, though the video doesn’t clearly show Scott doing that
After Scott became unresponsive, officers removed the spit hood and tried to revive him. Above, a medic is blue is seen attempting to resuscitate hime
Scott was held on March 14 on a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge.
The Collin County Medical Examiner had previously determined the cause of Scott’s death as ‘fatal acute stress response in an individual with previously diagnosed schizophrenia during restraint and struggle.’
‘Marvin Scott’s family is extremely disappointed the grand jury failed to bring charges in this case’, the family’s lawyer said.
The evidence, ‘provides more than sufficient probable cause for indictment,’ he added.
Dozens of people, along with Scott’s family rallied at the courthouse, protesting the grand jury’s decision.
Earlier this month, the Justice Department passed an order to require law-enforcement agents to wear body cameras when serving search and arrest warrants, adding a measure of accountability.
Last year, the United States saw months of demonstrations against racial inequality and police brutality following the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, who was killed by a white police officer.
The grand jury in Scott’s death also released a rare public statement addressing the death and calling for a review of Scott’s death and how people with mental illness are treated in the criminal justice system.
Marvin Scott, 26, was arrested in Collin County on March 14 on a drug-possession charge and started exhibiting ‘strange behavior’ and died while he was in police custody
A Texas grand jury declined to indict eight jail workers for the death of Scott – a black man who was strapped down to a bed and pepper sprayed while wearing a spit hood
The grand jury wrote it hopes Scott’s death ‘will not be in vain’ and recommended that ‘a work group be convened’ to address how people with mental illness are treated in the criminal justice system
‘We, the Grand Jury of Collin County, Texas, wish to make a statement and give our recommendations regarding the in-custody death of Marvin Scott III,’ the grand jury wrote in its statement.
‘After careful consideration of the applicable law and all the relevant facts, we find that no probable cause exists to charge any person with a criminal offense related to the death of Mr. Scott. Accordingly, we have issued a no-bill for each of the eight detention officers involved.’
The grand jury statement continued: ‘This case was a tragedy foremost for Mr. Scott and his family, but also for his friends and our entire community. We would like to extend our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Mr. Scott for the terrible loss you have suffered. We hope you can someday find peace.’
The grand jury wrote it hopes Scott’s death ‘will not be in vain’ and recommended that ‘a work group be convened as soon as practicable to study the events of March 14th for lessons learned in an effort to avoid any similar future tragedy.’
‘We recommend that this work group consist of a diverse group of Collin County community leaders, criminal justice and law enforcement stakeholders, local hospitals, and mental health providers,’ the grand jury wrote.
‘The goal of this work group should be finding the best solutions for the treatment of individuals with mental illness who come in contact with the criminal justice system.’
The grand jury then addressed citizens of Collin County and asked them to ‘respect’ each other and their opinions and wrote: ‘We hope and vigils, demonstrations, or protests remain peaceful.’
The grand jury reviewed evidence including video of Scott’s death and witness testimony before determining that the jail workers would not face criminal charges, officials said.
It was not immediately clear if the Collin County Sheriff’s Office would be releasing the footage now that the grand jury has declined to indict the jail workers.
The jail workers who had faced possible criminal charges included: Andres Cardenas, Alec Difatta, Blaise Mikulewicz, Rafael Paradez, Justin Patrick, James Schoelen, Christopher Windsor and Austin Wong.
The grand jury released a rare public statement addressing the death and calling for a review of Scott’s death and how people with mental illness are treated in the criminal justice system
Lee Merritt, the attorney representing Scott’s family, responded to the grand jury announcement on Twitter on Tuesday
In the press release, District Attorney Greg Willis declared he would be taking the lead in forming the mental health work group requested by the grand jury.
‘I too share the Grand Jury’s concern for the treatment of individuals suffering from mental illness, and I pledge to honor Mr. Scott by taking the lead in assembling the work group to look for lessons learned so that his tragic in-custody death will not have been in vain,’ Willis said.
He added: ‘I know there are members of our community who have strong feelings about this case and the Grand Jury’s decision. To everyone in Collin County, I say please be respectful to each other’s dignity, and please be respectful of our laws. We all have a God-given right to peaceably assemble and be heard, but remember that our laws must be followed and they will be enforced.’
Lee Merritt, the attorney representing Scott’s family, responded to the grand jury announcement on Twitter on Tuesday.
‘Marvin Scott’s family is extremely disappointed the GJ failed to bring charges in this case,’ Merritt wrote. ‘The evidence (unreleased video, spit-hood, OC spray, policy violations & a ME conclusion of homicide, provides more than sufficient probable cause for indictments.’
He added that the Scott family ‘looks forward’ to a review by a federal grand jury for possible violations of federal law.
‘The failure of prosecutors to secure indictments in this matter reflects a trend in Texas of undervaluing the lives of African American’s suffering mental health crisis,’ Merritt wrote.
Scott’s death came nine months after the murder of George Floyd and sparked aa wave of protests in North Texas.
Scott, who Merritt said suffered from schizophrenia, was arrested on a drug-possession charge when officers claimed they found him sitting next to a small amount of marijuana at an outlet mall, the Allen Premium Outlets.
Collin County medical examiner Dr. William Rohr had ruled his death a homicide and declared in a preliminary autopsy report that Scott had died from a ‘fatal acute stress response in an individual with previously diagnosed schizophrenia during restraint struggle with law enforcement,’ The Dallas Morning News reported.
Seven jailers were fired after an internal investigation and an eighth resigned, though one of them has successfully appealed the decision, The Dallas Morning News reported.