COLLIN COUNTY, Texas — The Collin County Sheriff's Department on Friday released 40 minutes of surveillance video from inside the county jail. It shows the events leading up to the death of Marvin Scott.
The videos do not have audio because the "facility’s camera system is incapable of recording sound," read a statement from the sheriff's office. The lack of audio prevents us from providing full context as to what occurred the night of March 14 when Scott died in custody at the age of 26.
"These guys have a split second to make a decision," said Lance Lowry, who has nearly 30 years of experience in police and corrections.
The video begins with one officer approaching Scott's cell. There appears to be a brief conversation between Scott and the officer before the cell door is opened and Scott comes out. His arm is seen wrapped around a slot in the cell door. There is a brief struggle outside the cell and four officers then escort Scott into another room that contains a restraint bed.
Once Scott is in the room, he is laid down on the restraint bed and six officers attempt to strap down his lower body, the video shows. It appears Scott is saying something to officers but without audio we can't know for sure.
Four minutes into the video the detention officers struggle with Scott on the bed. An officer sprays him with mace inches from his face. Another officer puts a spit hood over Scott's head. The hood is a piece of breathable fabric commonly used by officers to prevent someone from spitting or biting.
Scott tries to get up from the bed several times but officers force him back down. The video shows one officer has a knee to Scott's side. Meanwhile officers can be seen placing restraints on Scott's upper body.
"You're not supposed to place restraints where it restricts the air way. You can see in the video it went up in his diaphragm area," said Lowry.
It takes officers more than 20 minutes to apply restraints on Scott. At one point Scott's legs start flapping and he attempts to lift his head, the video shows.
Nineteen minutes into the video, officers are in a frenzy and Scott appears motionless. Officers remove the restraints and begin doing chest compressions. They would do chest compressions for 13 straight minutes.
"The biggest issue I saw here was lack of training. When [restraints] are used correctly, you don't see circumstances like this," said Lowry.
At one point the video shows 14 people in the room with Marvin Scott, including detention officers and medical personnel in blue scrubs.
Thirty-three minutes into the video an automatic chest compressor is installed and is used for more than six minutes. The compressor sits over Scott's chest and provides repeated compressions automatically. Scott is ultimately transferred to a gurney and rushed out of the room.
"Today, as promised, the Collin County Sheriff’s Office is releasing over 40 minutes of jail security video related to the in-custody death of Marvin Scott III. While some of the faces on this video have been intentionally blurred, the absence of sound is because the facility’s camera system is incapable of recording sound," read a statement from the Sheriff's Office.
Sheriff Jim Skinner said he will not be providing any comment because of pending civil service commission hearings set for September. The hearings are an avenue for the detention officers to get their jobs back.
A timeline of events in Scott's death, the investigation
Scott died on March 14 while in custody at the Collin County jail.
His death came hours after his arrest. Police responded to the Allen outlet mall after security personnel reported the smell of marijuana.
Scott was taken into custody for alleged possession of marijuana under 2 ounces, a class B misdemeanor.
Initially, Attorney Lee Merritt said, Scott was taken to Texas Health Presbyterian in Allen because he was incoherent when officers approached him. He spent three hours at the hospital before a doctor signed off that Scott was "fit to be incarcerated."
Scott was transported back to the county jail around 6 p.m., officials said. While in the jail's booking lobby, Scott exhibited "strange behavior" and was restrained by detention officers, said Skinner.
Around 10:30 p.m. the night of March 14, Scott became unresponsive, according to Skinner, and ultimately died.
He suffered from schizophrenia and his family said after his death that law enforcement was aware of that based on his past arrests.
Scott was laid to rest on March 30.
One of those officers was reinstated on April 27 after successfully appealing his termination, according to the sheriff's office. At the time, Skinner said he disagreed with that decision.
On April 28, the office of the Collin County Medical Examiner released its findings. The medical examiner called Scott's death a homicide, in a release.
Dr. William Rohr says Scott's cause of death was "fatal acute stress response in an individual with previously diagnosed schizophrenia during restraint struggle with law enforcement," the release said.
That same day the medical examiner released findings, Scott's family met with the sheriff and viewed the video captured the night of Scott's death inside the jail.
Almost two months later, a grand jury cleared the eight Collin County detention officers who had been under investigation in connection to Scott's death.
On June 22, the grand jury no-billed the officers, meaning they were cleared of any criminal charges, and "found no probable cause exists to charge any person with a criminal offense related to the death of Mr. Scott," according to a news release.
Following the grand jury announcement, Merritt said he was preparing to take the case to a federal grand jury.
An attorney for the officers said on June 23 that his clients would seek reinstatement of their jobs through the civil service commission.
On June 28, Sheriff Skinner said he would move forward with the grand jury's recommendation to form a work group to look for lessons learned in Scott's death, as well as make other adjustments to the jail facility.