US jury clears eight officers of wrongdoing in death of black man in police custody

Eight US police officers who were dismissed in April following the death of Marvin D Scott III in custody will not be charged.
Eight US police officers who were dismissed in April following the death of Marvin D Scott III in custody will not be charged. 
Image: 123RF/Stockstudio44

A grand jury in Texas on Tuesday cleared eight former police officers of any criminal wrongdoing in the death of a 26-year-old black man in custody.

The Collin County grand jury had reviewed video footage of the incident and heard testimonies from witness before coming to the decision not to indict the eight officers, said the county’s district attorney Greg Willis.

The eight officers who were dismissed in April following the death of Marvin D Scott III will not be charged with any state criminal offence. 

Scott was held on March 14 on a misdemeanour marijuana possession charge.

He died after having been restrained and pepper-sprayed following his handover to the county jail, the New York Times reported, adding that a spit hood had been placed over his head.

The Collin County medical examiner had previously determined the cause of Scott’s death as “fatal acute stress response in an individual with previously diagnosed schizophrenia during restraint and struggle”.

“Marvin Scott’s family is extremely disappointed the grand jury failed to bring charges in this case,” the family’s lawyer said.

He said the evidence “provides more than sufficient probable cause for indictment”.

Dozens of people rallied together with Scott’s family at the courthouse, protesting the grand jury’s decision.

Earlier this month, the justice department passed an order to require law enforcement agents to wear body cameras when serving search and arrest warrants, adding a measure of accountability.

Last year, the US saw months of demonstrations against racial inequality and police brutality following the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man killed by a white police officer. 

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