The in-custody death of Marvin David Scott III in Texas has been ruled a homicide by the Collin County Medical Examiner.
Scott died after being placed on a restraint bed, pepper-sprayed, and having a spit mask put on his face while in custody at the Collin County Detention Facility north of Dallas in March.
Scott’s cause of death was “fatal acute stress response in an individual with previously diagnosed schizophrenia during restraint struggle with law enforcement,” Collin County Medical Examiner Dr. William Rohr said in a news release.
Laboratory results are still pending before Scott’s final autopsy report can be completed, the release said.
Seven Collin County detention officers were fired and one resigned following Scott’s death.
Scott was arrested for possession of less than two ounces of marijuana, Sheriff Jim Skinner said in a news conference March 22.
Scott was brought to the jail at 6:22 p.m. on March 14 and “exhibited some strange behavior” while in the booking area, Skinner said at the news conference.
Officers tried to restrain him on a bed, spraying him once with pepper spray and putting a spit mask on his face, the sheriff said.
“At around 10:22 p.m., while being placed on the restraint bed, Mr. Scott became nonresponsive,” Skinner said.
Staff started giving him emergency medical attention and he was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Skinner said.
Skinner said he had called the Texas Rangers to launch an investigation – and had started his own internal investigation the day after the death.
“I was broken-hearted to learn that someone had died in our custody,” Skinner told reporters.
“The death of this young man is a profound tragedy,” the sheriff added, saying he had met with the family to express his condolences.