Texas sheriff fires seven officers following custody death of Black man

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A Texas sheriff fired on Thursday seven officers who had been put on administrative leave after the custody death of a Black man, Marvin D. Scott III, Collin County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

The dismissal of the officers in Texas comes at time when the eyes of the United States are locked on Minneapolis, where former policeman Derek Chauvin is on trial for the murder of a 46-year-old Black man, George Floyd, whose death last May set off protests across the country, and around the world, against racial injustice and police brutality toward Black people.

Scott, 26, was acting in an erratic manner when he was arrested after a March 14 disturbance at an outlet mall, and police were concerned for his safety because of the possible ingestion of drugs, the New York Times reported, citing authorities.

He was held on a marijuana possession charge, though he had less than two ounces, which is a misdemeanor, Allen, Texas, Police Department said .

Scott died later that night 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.

“Evidence I have seen confirms that these detention officers violated well-established sheriff’s office policies and procedures,” Jim Skinner, the sheriff of Collin county, said.

He added that an eighth officer had resigned while under investigation.

REUTERS