At least seven Texas county detention officers have been fired following an investigation into a detainee’s death last month, authorities said.
An eighth officer resigned during the investigation, the Collin County Sheriff’s Office announced Thursday. Sheriff Jim Skinner said the officers violated policies and procedures, according to FOX 4 of Dallas-Fort Worth.
“Everyone in Collin County deserves safe and fair treatment, including those in custody at our jail. I will not tolerate less,” the sheriff said in a statement.
Allen police arrested Marvin Scott, 26, on a marijuana possession charge on March 14 after officers found him sitting next to a joint at an outlet mall in the city, located about 25 miles northeast of Dallas, reports said.
Lee Merritt, a civil rights attorney who is representing Scott’s family, said Scott was diagnosed with schizophrenia and was probably suffering a mental health crisis when he was arrested, the Dallas Morning News reported. Scott was first taken to a hospital in Allen for about three hours. After a doctor released him, he was taken to the Collin County Jail that evening.
Sheriff Skinner said Scott began to act strangely in the booking area at the jail, so officers put him on a restraint bed and used pepper spray to get him under control. A spit hood was also placed over his head, the paper reported.
The Collin County Sheriff’s Office in McKinney, Texas (Google Maps)
At some point, Scott became unresponsive and was taken to the Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in McKinney, where he was pronounced dead.
After his death, the sheriff’s office said it placed seven detention employees on administrative leave and ordered an internal administrative investigation. Those placed on leave included a captain, a lieutenant, two sergeants, and three detention officers, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Investigators, as well as Scott’s family, are still waiting for the official autopsy results.
The family was returning home Thursday from their son’s funeral in Missouri. His mother, LaSandra Scott, called the officers’ firings “a little bit of a start.”
“I’m still in shock. Yesterday was the hardest day, one of the hardest days of my life,” LaSandra Scott told FOX 4. “Hearing this news made me feel like it’s just a little bit of a start. It’s not exactly what we want initially, it’s a little bit of a start.”
Scott’s sister, LaShay Batts was more candid in her response.
“Now that they’re fired, they need to be arrested. Go to their homes and arrest them,” she said.
McKinney is located about 35 miles northeast of Dallas.