Two Texas jailers terminated in April 2021 after the in-custody death of a marijuana prisoner got their jobs back this month.
The Civil Service Commission has not given any reason for their decision, reports WFAA.
The commission held the appeal proceedings from March 21-24. The commission closed the meetings to the public.
Less Than Two Ounces Of Marijuana
Police arrested Marvin Scott III at the Allen Premium Outlets in March 2021 for misdemeanor possession of less than two ounces of Cannabis.
The incident started with security personnel at the Allen Outlet Mall alerting Allen police to Scott in the parking lot. Civil rights attorney Lee Merritt said mall employees called police because of the suspected smell of marijuana.
While in the Collin County Jail he began to “exhibit some strange behavior,” jailers claimed. Jailers put Scott on a restraint bed, pepper sprayed him, and spit-masked him. He later “became unresponsive,” reports NBC DFW.
At about 10:30 pm, officers took Scott to an area hospital. He was pronounced dead.
Harrowing Jailhouse Video
In July, the sheriff’s department released 40 minutes of surveillance video from inside the county jail on the day Scott died. The video had no audio due to the jail’s recording system not having sound capability.
Four minutes into the video, the jailers struggled with Scott on a restraint bed after removing him from his cell. An officer sprayed him with mace — inches from his face. Another officer then put a spit hood over Scott’s head.
Scott tried to get up from the bed several times but jailers forced him back down. The video showed one officer has a knee to Scott’s side. Meanwhile jailers place restraints on Scott’s upper body.
Officers ‘Appared To Be In A Frenzy’
Nineteen minutes into the video, jailers appeared to be in a frenzy as Scott appeared motionless. Officers removed the restraints and begin doing chest compressions. They continued doing chest compressions for 13 straight minutes.
Thirty-three minutes into the video jailers install an automatic chest compressor and use it for more than six minutes. The compressor sat over Scott’s chest and provides repeated compressions automatically.
Jailers transferred Scott to a gurney and rushed him out of the room.
Sheriff Fired 7 After Incident
Following Scott’s death, Sheriff Jim Skinner fired seven employees. Skinner dismissed a a detention captain, a detention lieutenant, two detention sergeants, and three detention officers. The sheriff said the jailers violated “well-established policies” with regard to Scott’s treatment.
An eighth officer resigned during the investigation.
Four of the fired employees — the captain, two sergeants, and an officer — appealed their terminations. Hearings for the appeals were held by the Collin County Civil Service Commission last week and the commission found that all four had violated jail policies and procedures.
The commission affirmed the terminations of the captain and one sergeant. But the commission reinstated the other sergeant with a demotion to a detention officer, and the commission reinstated the remaining detention officer with a 10-day suspension,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.
The commission denied all claims for back pay.
“The Manner Of Death Is Listed As Homicide”
An independent autopsy found Scott’s death was likely caused by restraint and asphyxiation.
Dr. William Rohr with the Collin County Medical Examiner’s Office agreed Scott’s cause of death was “fatal acute stress response in an individual with previously diagnosed schizophrenia during restraint struggle with law enforcement.” Rohr said “the manner of death is listed as homicide.”
In June 2021, a Collin County grand jury declined to indict any of the terminated officers involved in the case.
“Names Unreleased,” But Here They Are
The names of the sheriff’s department employees involved in the incident haven’t been released, reports NBC DFW.
But WFAA reports the following jail employees were cleared of charges by a grand jury last year: Andres Cardenas, Alec Diftta, Blaise Mikulewicz, Rafael Paredez, Justin Patrick, James Schoelen, Christopher Windsor, and Austin Wong.
It was unclear which four officers appealed their firings and which two got their jobs back.