Who was Marvin Scott III? #JusticeForMarvin trends after mentally unwell Texas Black man dies in police custody
COLLIN COUNTY, TEXAS: #JusticeForMarvin started trending on social media after the death of a Black man in a Texas jail. Marvin David Scott III died on Sunday, March 14, while reportedly being in custody at a Collin County jail. The 26-year-old was arrested earlier that day by the officers from the Allen Police Department for possessing less than 2 ounces of marijuana - a class B misdemeanor.
But the lawyer for Marvin’s family, Lee Merritt, claimed that the detention was “inappropriate” as he was having mental health crisis at the time of his arrest. “When officers are aware of [someone’s mental health history], they’re supposed to take certain precautions. They were not taken here, and they’re often not taken, and it results in unnecessary death,” Merritt stated as reported by The Dallas Morning News. He also added that instead of taking Marvin to a mental facility, they took him to a hospital and later shifted him to jail.
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While in jail, the man "exhibited some strange behavior," Collin County Sheriff Jim Skinner said in a press conference last week. To keep him under control, many officers secured him onto a restraint bed. They also used pepper spray and put a spit hood over his head. However, soon Marvin had to be transported to Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in McKinney as he became unresponsive. At the hospital, he was declared dead, Skinner added.
Now, Marvin’s family is demanding an answer from the authorities regarding their son’s death. "We want to know, how did my son die? We want answers!" his mother LaSandra Scott said during a press conference. Though seven detention staffers were put on administrative leave after the reported tragedy and an internal administrative probe ordered, the devasted family wanted their names to be revealed and them to be arrested.
The family also held a protest recently with about 50 people in a circle behind the Collin County Jail demanding justice. Lachay Scott, Marvin’s sister, told protesters who were carrying signs like, “We demand justice for Marvin Scott III now” and “Black Lives Matter,” that she want them to block the jail’s back door to keep others from being held behind bars until justice is served. She said, “You are able to use your body as a blockage to this door for them… Y’all just try to keep it peaceful.”
The deceased man’s mother added, “This has to be very spiritual for me. I lost my son, and it’s been very, very emotional, okay. 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 officers’ names. And we want them to be arrested. You know, that’s what this is about.”
Merritt told the demonstrators, “Peace is not the absence of anger. It’s not the absence of tension. This mom, this family has called for peace, and we are going to be peaceful, but peaceful doesn’t mean not to be bad. The actual definition of peace is the presence of justice. Then we have peace. Because we’re not at peace when they kill.”
The attorney, who recently announced his bid for Texas attorney general, also took to Facebook on March 17, where he wrote, “His name was #MarvinScottIII, He was suspected of smoking a joint at an outlet mall in Allen, TX. When police arrived they observed him murmuring to himself and in apparent mental health distress— so they took him to jail. Not a mental health facility, just jail. In the jail he was sprayed with pepper spray, held down with a knee and ‘restrained to death.’ He was 26 and schizophrenic. He needed help. Allen PD & Collin County COs helped him to death. The whole system must change. All of it— starting with accountability. Crisis is not criminal.”
Several people commented to express anger and sadness as one said, “When will we start calling this what it is ... genocide one by one. A system rotten and evil to the core. RIP with the Ancestors Marvin. They can’t hurt you anymore.” Another person commented, “This is horrible. Bless this mans family. We need more education surrounding people with mental illness. He didn’t need to go to jail, he needed help. This is so heart breaking.”
People on Twitter also started posting tweets demanding justice for Marvin with the hashtag #JusticeForMarvin. A post read, “26-year-old Marvin Scott III was arrested over a joint in Texas. Per his family lawyer @MeritLaw, he was in mental health distress and was pepper sprayed, restrained with a knee and killed in jail. This has to stop. The system must change. Please #SayHisName. #JusticeForMarvin.” Another tweet stated, “For nearly a century, marijuana use—real or imagined—has been used to demonize, criminalize, and brutalize Black people. It appears this immoral impulse has cost 26-year-old Marvin D. Scott III his life. Join us in demanding #JusticeForMarvin.”
26-year-old Marvin Scott III was arrested over a joint in Texas.— nikki sumrow (@nikki_sumrow) March 17, 2021
Per his family lawyer @MeritLaw, he was in mental health distress and was pepper sprayed, restrained with a knee and killed in jail.
This has to stop. The system must change. Please #SayHisName. #JusticeForMarvin pic.twitter.com/2tk6kbdzPT
For nearly a century, marijuana use—real or imagined—has been used to demonize, criminalize, and brutalize Black people.— Last Prisoner Project (@lastprisonerprj) March 17, 2021
It appears this immoral impulse has cost 26-year-old Marvin D. Scott III his life.
Join us in demanding #JusticeForMarvin. pic.twitter.com/hWez6bSb38
“DTX portrays this false narrative of being progressive when it was the KKK CAPITAL OF THE USA. most of these people were part of the law enforcement, the judicial system, education system, and other powerful positions they will TRY to hide this. SAY HIS NAME: #justiceformarvin,” a person tweeted. The second one added: “The officers arrested him for a scarce amount of marijuana then claimed he had a “mental breakdown”. Nothing they are saying justifies his death! If I have to stand alone I will still stand #ripmarvinscott #MarvinScott #IStandwithMarvin #JUSTICE.”
DTX portrays this false narrative of being progressive when it was the KKK CAPITAL OF THE USA. most of these people were part of the law enforcement, the judicial system, education system, and other powerful positions— wu tang (@marijuwania) March 17, 2021
they will TRY to hide this. SAY HIS NAME: #justiceformarvin https://t.co/RHLTQX94CF
The officers arrested him for a scarce amount of marijuana then claimed he had a “mental breakdown”. Nothing they are saying justifies his death! If I have to stand alone I will still stand #ripmarvinscott #MarvinScott #IStandwithMarvin #JUSTICE— Tayyy Tayyy 😍🧸❣️ (@TaJahtheDon) March 19, 2021