COLLIN COUNTY, Texas — The grand jury decided Tuesday not to indict the eight detention officers from Collin County for the in-custody death of Marvin Scott. But, there are still a number of outstanding issues from the incident that have yet to be settled.
The Scott family and attorney Lee Merritt told WFAA that they vow to continue to fight. Their hope is to appeal to a federal grand jury.
Scott was 26 years old when he was arrested in Allen for less than two ounces of marijuana. The officers with Allen police had reported that Scott was acting erratically.
The Scott family said he was in mental distress when arrested and needed a facility, not jail.
A statement from the Scott family reads:
"Marvin Scott's family is extremely disappointed the grand jury failed to bring charges in this case. The massive evidence, including unreleased video, spit-hood, OC spray, policy violations, and a medical examiner's conclusions of homicide, provides more than sufficient probable cause for indictments."
Attention also now turns the detention officers who were fired by Collin County Sheriff Jim Skinner. Attorney Robert Rogers told WFAA their clients will soon seek reinstatement of their jobs at the jail through the civil service commission.
"What happened here is a tragedy and I won't gloss over that fact, but the actions of the jailers were not criminal," said Rogers.
Not every city and county has a civil service commission. Often, the commission is appointed by the county's commissioners. It operates the same way a regular court trial would.
"Absent the criminal case are the policy violations that are in the report enough to sustain a termination? That's what the civil service commission is going to look at," said attorney Pete Schulte, who is an expert in civil service law.
Sheriff Skinner will not make any comments until these hearings are over. Rogers said his actions to fire them said enough.
"They were law enforcement officers with hundreds of thousands of hours of training and experience. They were doing everything they were taught to safely restrain Mr. Scott," said Rogers.
What is still unclear still is when or if the in-house jail video showing Scott's final moments gets released. The family told WFAA they want the video released. In late April, the family had an opportunity to see the video privately at the Collin County DA's office.
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Schulte said the grand jury's decision certainly opens the door for the Sheriff.
"If the family of Marvin Scott consents to the video being released, it can be released," said Schulte.
WFAA has put in multiple public record requests for the video. The Collin County Sheriff's Office points to pending litigation.
Schulte has not seen the video but said it's likely the officers get their jobs back. He also said it's rare for a federal grand jury to pick these cases up.