McKINNEY, Texas - People have been protesting the in-custody death of Marvin Scott III for weeks, and his family said firing the officers involved is just a single step in the right direction.
Scott’s name is one people are recognizing at the Collin County jail, where he died in custody on March 14.
Scott’s family heard the news about the seven fired detention officers from their attorney. An eighth officer resigned.
"The seven have been fired, and when he said that, electricity went through my body. I was so happy," Scott’s father, Marvin Scott Jr., said.
"That’s a start. It’s a small increment but it’s a start," Scott’s mother, LaShandra, said.
The Texas Rangers are conducting a separate criminal investigation.
Scott’s family wants to see charges.
"Right now, they’re fired and they’re at home, relaxing, looking for another job. So the charges mean everything," Scott’s father said.
Allen police said Scott was arrested at the Allen Outlet Malls for marijuana possession, and displayed erratic behavior, so he was transferred to a hospital.
He was cleared by a physician three hours later to be taken to jail, where the Collin County sheriff said Scott began to act strangely.
According to the sheriff, officers put him on a restraint bed, placed a spit hood on him and used pepper spray.
Scott became unresponsive and later died.
"Collectively, it seems that something went terribly, terribly wrong," attorney Russell Wilson said.
Wilson is familiar with cases like this.
He established a civil rights investigation office at the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office.
He’s not directly involved in Scott’s case, but believes the sheriff’s office should release video from the jail.
"And if you want confidence in law enforcement, you want to improve transparency, and that is usually done with the release of videos," he said.
Wilson said there are a wide range of potential charges.
A critical piece of information will be the medical examiner’s report.
"And so you’re going to get into degrees of intent and degrees of causation. What’s causing the death, and what’s the intent of the actors?" Wilson explained.
The Collin County sheriff has not talked on camera since the firings.
But he alluded to the video in a statement, saying evidence he’s seen confirms that the detention officers violated well-established policies and procedures.
"Just a little bit of relief, like we’re moving in the direction that we need to move in," Scott’s mother said.
Scott’s family hopes there are more steps to come.
"It means that they’re being held accountable for what they actually did," Scott’s father added.
Scott’s family will continue to protest at the jail Friday night.