COLLIN COUNTY, Texas — Updated at 10 a.m. Wednesday following the vigil for Marvin Scott.
The Texas Rangers are investigating after a 26-year-old man died while in custody on Sunday, officials said. Seven employees at Collin County jail have been placed on administrative leave.
More than 200 people showed up to Town Lake Park in McKinney on Tuesday night. They all huddled together to watch a slideshow of the man they referred to as a "gentle giant." The candlelight vigil was followed by a balloon release in honor of Marvin Scott.
"There's a lot of different emotions. There is nothing that can bring my brother back," cried Scott's sister LaChay Batts.
Marvin D. Scott III of Frisco was taken into custody earlier in the day by Allen police, who say he was arrested for alleged possession of marijuana under 2 ounces, which is a class B misdemeanor. Scott was transported to the Collin County Detention Facility, the sheriff's office said in a news release.
Attorney Lee Merritt tells WFAA that Scott's mental health crisis was not appropriately addressed by police and detention officers.
The incident started with security personnel at the Allen outlet mall alerting Allen police to Scott in the parking lot. Merritt says police were initially called because of the suspected smell of marijuana. According to the attorney, Scott was incoherent when approached by officers which likely led them to take Scott to Texas Health Presbyterian in Allen. Merritt says a doctor signed off that Scott was "fit to be incarcerated."
Scott was taken to the Collin County jail where, the attorney says, Scott suffered several mental health episodes. Merritt said seven detention officers with the Collin County jail tried to restrain Scott into his cell. Merritt says the use of force by the detention officers against Scott was overly physical.
"They took him to jail, and in that jail he was killed and the men who participated in that, their acts were criminal," said Merritt.
The seven detention employees were placed on leave, per department policy, and an internal administrative investigation has been ordered.
No other details were released pending the Rangers' investigation, the Collin County Sheriff's Office said. Merritt says the initial autopsy showed that Scott's death may have been heart-related. WFAA is seeking to independently review the coroner's findings. The family and attorney intend to hire an independent forensic examiner to determine cause of death.
Merritt says Scott should have been taken to a treatment center instead of the jail. The family tells WFAA that Scott was working to address his mental health challenges. Scott's father Marvin Sr. says his son was coming to terms with his mental health.
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