After Minor Drug Arrest, a Man Dies in Texas Jail

man in handcuffs

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Anyone who is involved with Texas jails and prisons understands that they can be hazardous places, which is one reason experienced criminal lawyers endeavor to keep their clients out – by whatever legal means possible. A tragic example of exactly how dangerous incarceration can be occurred in March of this year. According to The Texas Tribune, Marvin Scott III, a young black man, was arrested for possession of fewer than two ounces of marijuana, and hours after his arrest, he was dead. 

Seven Correction Officers Fired

It is alleged that Mr. Scott endured all of the following at the hands of the officers involved:

  • He was restrained.

  • He was blasted with pepper spray.

  • A hood was fitted over his head.

His family explains that all of this happened when Mr. Scott was in the throes of a mental health emergency. Seven officers have been fired for the role they played in the tragedy’s unfolding. An investigation into the incident determined that the officers were in violation of policies and procedures, but the victim’s family is calling for criminal charges. 

Questions about the Arrest

There are questions as to why the young man was arrested for such a small amount of marijuana, to begin with. The drug will soon be legal for even recreational use in 16 states, and it has been decriminalized in many other places. There are also, naturally, lingering questions about why the man was subjected to force in jail – rather than immediately receiving medical treatment. 

Plano’s Force Weighs In

Across the nation, many police departments refrain from arresting people who possess only small amounts of marijuana, and several forces in and around Dallas have followed suit. In fact, since Mr. Scott’s arrest, the Plano Police Department has changed its policy and will now be issuing citations instead of making arrests for the possession of any amount of marijuana that is two ounces or less. They cite both the cost of lab testing (to determine THC content) and the racial disparity involved as their reasons for the abrupt change.

The Police and Mental Health Crises

The police have faced some scrutiny regarding mental health events and restraint. Mr. Scott’s family shared that he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and that, in the past, officers had helped him receive the medical care he needed during his mental health crises. This time, however, things were different, and while the officers initially took him to a hospital, they later took him to jail instead of to a local mental health center (which could have, perhaps, made all the difference).  

Look to an Experienced Killeen Criminal Attorney 

If you are facing a drug charge of any kind, Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, is a savvy criminal attorney with impressive experience defending the legal rights of clients like you. Our compassionate legal team is here to help, so please do not hesitate to contact us online or call us at 254-501-4040 for more information today.
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