Civil rights lawyer Lee Merritt says he will run for Texas Attorney General in 2022, facing off against the state’s current attorney general, Ken Paxton.
Paxton has been the state’s attorney general since 2014
“Texas deserves an attorney general that will fight for the constitutional rights of all citizens,” Merritt tweeted Saturday.
Last year, Paxton faced investigation from the FBI after his top aides accused him of bribery, abuse of office and other alleged crimes on behalf of a donor. Paxton has refuted any wrongdoing and said he’ll seek reelection.
Merritt told KERA, a local news station, that he realized he had to run following the death of Marvin Scott III in the Collin County jail. Officers arrested Scott earlier that day for possession of less than 2 ounces of marijuana.
He died just hours later.
Collin County Sheriff Jim Skinner claimed that Scott died Sunday after detention officers tried to restrain him. Scott’s family says the actions used were “inappropriate.” Scott had schizophrenia and was suffering from a mental crisis.
“We found the initial arrest inappropriate, this was not something someone needed an arrest for, to be quite frank, Marvin was suffering a mental health crisis in a public place,” Merritt said. “He needed help to a facility, they failed to do that, they took him into custody instead and in custody, he died.”
Merritt has called for more transparency in the investigation into the death. At least five officers were involved in Scott’s arrests, and six or seven participated in restraining him.
Still, authorities claim they have nothing to hide and are urging Scott’s family and the local community to be patient.
“What’s needed now is patience,” Skinner said. “I’m not here to make excuses for anyone. People are upset. Families are upset. The community is upset. I’m upset. The death of this man is a profound tragedy, and we have an obligation to uncover the full and complete truth — firm, concrete, and factual information. And that’s exactly what the Texas Rangers and my Internal Affairs investigators are doing at this moment.”