Dallas civil rights attorney Lee Merritt arrested at protest in McKinney
The protest was in memory of Marvin Scott III, who died in Collin County Jail custody in 2021. Scott’s sister and a local photojournalist were also arrested.
Sign up for The Brief, The Texas Tribune’s daily newsletter that keeps readers up to speed on the most essential Texas news.
Prominent Dallas civil rights attorney Lee Merritt was jailed in Collin County after being arrested at a protest Sunday in memory of Marvin Scott III, who died in Collin County Jail custody in 2021.
Police also identified two others arrested at the protest as Shelby Tauber and LaChay Batts. Batts is Marvin Scott’s sister, and Tauber is a photojournalist who has previously covered protests in Scott’s honor, including as a freelancer for The Texas Tribune.
McKinney police responded to a group of about 20 people blocking U.S. Highway 380 just after 4 p.m. on Sunday, police spokesperson Carla Marion Reeves said in an email. They arrested three people for blocking the roadway, including Merritt, who is also charged with unlawfully carrying a firearm.
All three were brought into custody Sunday and released Monday, according to Collin County Jail records.
Merritt has reached national prominence for representing the families of Black Americans killed by police. Locally, he’s worked with the families of Atatiana Jefferson and Botham Jean.
He’s also represented Scott’s family in Collin County. Scott, who had schizophrenia, was arrested for possessing a small amount of marijuana. At the jail, he was strapped to a bed, hooded and pepper sprayed.
Merritt posted about the protest on Instagram over the weekend, encouraging people to show up to a Sunday “March for Mental Health” in Scott’s honor.
“North Texas— police are murdering individuals in mental health crisis with impunity. We need you to show up and express your dissent tomorrow,” he wrote.
We can’t wait to welcome you Sept. 21-23 to the 2023 Texas Tribune Festival, our multiday celebration of big, bold ideas about politics, public policy and the day’s news — all taking place just steps away from the Texas Capitol. When tickets go on sale in May, Tribune members will save big. Donate to join or renew today.
Quality journalism doesn't come free
Perhaps it goes without saying — but producing quality journalism isn't cheap. At a time when newsroom resources and revenue across the country are declining, The Texas Tribune remains committed to sustaining our mission: creating a more engaged and informed Texas with every story we cover, every event we convene and every newsletter we send. As a nonprofit newsroom, we rely on members to help keep our stories free and our events open to the public. Do you value our journalism? Show us with your support.Yes, I'll donate today