A Texas police department faces backlash after a video surfaced showing a white officer letting a white man off the hook after he seemingly tried to swing at Black Lives Matter protesters, the Dallas Observer reported.
The incident was said to have taken place in Frisco, Texas, after demonstrators stopped traffic while protesting the death of Marvin Scott III. The 26-year-old Black man died while in police custody at Collin County Jail in Texas on Thursday, March 4, 2021. Scott was allegedly pepper-sprayed and had a spit mask, a covering with netting fabric designed to prevent a person from spitting on officers, on his face. He was initially arrested for having less than two ounces of marijuana on him; Texas is one of 13 states that has not yet legalized marijuana.
Dr. William Rohr, the medical examiner in Collin County, said Scott’s death was caused by “fatal acute stress response in an individual with previously diagnosed schizophrenia during restraint struggle with law enforcement.” His death was ruled a homicide that occurred “during restraint struggle with law enforcement.” Following the incident, seven officers were fired, and one resigned.
On Sunday, May 2, residents marched through Plano and Frisco, Texas, to honor Scott’s life, during which traffic stalled as the protesters marched toward the parking lot of a Plano Chick-fil-A. They were soon interrupted by a tall white man, wearing a navy shirt and sports sunglasses, cursing at them. The footage captured the unidentified man walking up to a Plano officer standing at the intersection and demanded that he “get these fucking people out of the way.”
The man is then seen walking toward a young Black woman and appears to swing at her and drop her cell phone. Demonstrators quickly swarmed around the young lady and another man, the Dallas Observer identified as Scott’s family lawyer, Lee Merritt. The white man then places his right fist on Merritt’s chest while holding up his left fist to strike the attorney. That’s when the police officer tried to redirect the man in the opposite direction. He continued to scream, “Get them out of here!” before heading back to his vehicle, and is allowed to leave the scene.
Community advocate Hava Johnston told the news outlet she believed the man should have been arrested as soon as authorities saw him damaging the woman’s property. Johnston also claimed that the man had a weapon on his hip, and she said there was no question about who did what and what happened. She added, “The question is: Why wasn’t that guy treated the same way that a person of color would have been treated?”
Folks took to their social media platform, expressing anger over how the angry man was treated. One Twitter user wrote, “This man jumped out of his vehicle, got in the face of a @PlanoPoliceDept officer & swung at protesters.” That person noted, “He wasn’t arrested. He wasn’t shot. He wasn’t ticketed. There is clearly a difference in how police deal w/angry white men.”
“The plano police did not charge man for assaulting two women…” another user wrote.
A third commented, “Plano police sure look like they will turn a blind eye when black people are assaulted. Watch yourselves out there in Plano black people. Don’t want to be shot in the back by one of those quasi ‘protect and serve’ fellas.”
The Plano Police Department has yet to address the incident despite the overwhelming amount of media calls the department has received.