MCKINNEY, Texas (NewsNation Now) — Public outrage is growing over the death of Marvin Scott III, a Black man who died while in custody after being arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor marijuana possession earlier this month.
Thursday, seven detention officers were fired in connection to his death and Friday, NewsNation’s Markie Martin spoke to his parents.
Photos and videos of the late 26-year-old now cover his family and attorney’s social media pages amid calls for justice in his death.
“He was kind, very sweet hearted, very responsible,” his mother LaSandra Scott said. “He was just an amazing son, and I’m so glad to have had him 26 years.”
His mother LaSandra and his father Marvin Scott Jr. say their son was arrested in March outside an outlet mall in Allen, Texas, about 20 miles north of Dallas on a drug possession charged, suspected of smoking a joint and smelling like weed.
In a press conference, the Collin County sheriff said Scott was transported to the county jail where he began exhibiting “strange behavior.” Detention officers placed him on a restraint bed, used pepper spray and covered him with a spit mask. Later that night, Scott was pronounced dead at an area hospital.
“The death of this young man is a profound tragedy and we have an obligation to uncover the full and complete truth, firm, concrete and factual information,” Skinner said last month.
“We had our own autopsy done, and the autopsy said he died from asphyxiation as a direct result from restraint. With the excitement, the pepper spray and just a combination all of those things. Marvin was healthy,” his mother said.
His death is sparking nightly protests across North Texas.
On Thursday, the seven detention officers linked to Scott’s in-custody death were fired by the sheriff. An eight resigned while under investigation.
In a statement to NewsNation, Sheriff Jim Skinner said, “Evidence I have seen confirms that these detention officers violated well-established sheriff’s office policies and procedures. Everyone in Collin County deserves safe and fair treatment, including those in custody at our jail. I will not tolerate less.”
The family and their attorney Lee Merrit – who is also running for Texas Attorney General – says Scott was schizophrenic and experiencing an episode at the time of his arrest, telling NewsNation their “gentle giant” of a son needed medical help, not time behind bars. They labeled the terminations as a step in the right direction but called on who they have named “the Collin County Seven” to be arrested.
“It happens more often to us as Black people. You hear about it all the time and you say oh that’s so sad, how could they do that? But when it happens to you.. it’s devastating,” Marvin Scott Jr. said.
The Scotts laid their son to rest yesterday in his hometown of St. Louis. At this time, names and faces of the detention officers have yet to be released. The Texas Rangers are still investigating the case, and an official cause of death from the medical examiner is still pending.