On Sunday, May 2, protesters marched to demand justice for Marvin Scott III in Plano. But this weekend, conservative politicians, including Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, and right-wing media made a clip of a confrontation at the rally go viral and lashed out at the demonstrators.
For weeks, some North Texans have demanded the arrest of the officers involved in the death of Scott, a 26-year-old Black man who died March 14 while in custody at the Collin County Jail. After his death, seven officers were fired and another resigned.
Scott’s death was ruled a homicide by the Collin County Medical Examiner’s Office in late April.
In video footage taken at the May 2 protest, a tall white man is seen angrily confronting protesters, who were crossing a busy Plano intersection. Scott supporters demanded the man’s arrest and the firing of a police officer they felt did little to intervene. But some conservatives insist that the protesters were in the wrong for obstructing traffic.
Many have accused right-wing commentators of fomenting misplaced outrage. Rather than being upset by Scott’s horrific death, which his family described as “torturous,” some conservatives seemed more rattled by potential traffic violations.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Monday tweeted the protest was an example of "mob rule." In a statement, he claimed a "militant" group of Black Lives Matter protesters were real the aggressors, and an "Antifa-like character" pulled out what appears to be a gun.
Jeff Leach, a state representative from Plano, also criticized the demonstrators for going "off the sanctioned route," adding that "we must stand against breaches of the peace."
The Post Millennial, a far-right outlet based in Canada, also jumped into the fray, mistakenly saying the protest took place on Friday and claiming that the "officer took the side of the protesters."
Called a “far-right commentator” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, One America News Network host Jack Posobiec on May 8 tweeted out the video of the confrontation. (Posobiec has made a name for himself spreading conspiracy theories in the past.)
“BREAKING: Plano, TX police officer allows armed left-wing militia to illegally block traffic, reprimands driver who attempts to clear road, defend himself,” Posobiec said in a tweet.
BREAKING: Plano, TX police officer allows armed left-wing militia to illegally block traffic, reprimands driver who attempts to clear road, defend himself pic.twitter.com/2YTE0dvo9S— Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) May 8, 2021
In response, the Official Justice for Marvin Twitter handle wrote that police had helped escort protesters.
“Allen PD escorts us, blocks intersections for us and keeps EVERYONE safe during our peaceful protests,” they said in a tweet.
Another conservative journalist, Andy Ngo, also tweeted about the incident, saying the group of Black Lives Matter protesters shut down the road “with impunity.” And Glenn Beck’s multimedia platform, The Blaze, wrote its own piece condemning the police for doing “nothing” as protesters blocked the busy intersection.
On Sunday, Scott family attorney Lee Merritt, who had also attended the May 2 demonstration, challenged the attorney general for having called the protesters “leftists" in a since-deleted tweet.
“Organizers in Collin County, led by Marvin’s sister — a local business owner, ‘believe in human equality’ and are peacefully demanding the arrest of Marvin’s killers,” Merritt wrote in a tweet. “If that makes them leftist so be it...”
Ken Paxton called protestors for #MarvinScottIII "leftist"— S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) May 9, 2021
Organizers in Collin County, led by Marvin's sister-- a local business owner, "believe in human equality" and are peacefully demanding the arrest of Marvin's killers.
If that makes them leftist so be it...
Merritt announced in March that he plans to run to unseat Paxton as the state’s attorney general in 2022.
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