By Steven Monacelli
Weeks after the death of Marvin Scott III while in police custody in Collin County, the Scott family and their supporters continue their daily protests seeking justice for Marvin. In particular, the family is seeking the arrest of the eight Collin County Jail officers fired after Marvin’s death, which was recently ruled a homicide by the Collin County Medical Examiner.
These protests have been entirely peaceful. Until this past Sunday. Video from the scene shows an agitated man in a blue shirt swat a phone out of a woman’s hand, throw his hands up in a boxing pose, and seemingly try to instigate a fist fight. “You want some?! Come on!” he barked at the protesters.
It all started when the man — who has been identified as David Arthur Godber in numerous social media posts — left his vehicle and approached the crowd, which had stopped in an intersection near Stonebriar Mall.
After a member of the protest security team tried to halt his advance, Godber yelled “Get the f—k out of my way! Where’s the g—damn cops?!”
When Godber found a Plano police officer who had been monitoring the march, he was hysterical. “Get these f—king people out of the way! They can’t be standing in the middle of the g—damn road!” Godber yelled at the officer.
When the officer did not immediately comply with Godber’s demands, Godber was infuriated. “No, you get them out of here!” he yelled.
Godber then stormed off, but not before swatting a woman’s phone out of her hand and nearly coming to blows with those who tried to deescalate the situation.
When the family’s lawyer, Lee Merritt, stepped between Godber and other protesters, Godber pushed him back with his left hand and lifted his right fist as if to strike. It was only at this moment that the police officer intervened, stepping between the two and ushering Godber in the other direction.
The incident came at the tail end of a two hour march that had otherwise remained peaceful. “We hadn’t had any issues the whole time,” says Elizabeth Michel, one of the protesters. “You know, a couple people flipped us off, but we mostly just handed out flyers.”
Police tailed the protesters the entire way, often blocking lanes or directing traffic. They took a hands off approach, to both the protesters and Godber.
“He was allowed to go back to his vehicle, even after the police witnessed everything,” Michel says.
Another protester, Hava Johnston, told the Dallas Observer that she thinks the police should have arrested Godber. Video from the scene shows Godber yelling at Johnston and extending a middle finger in her face as she leans out of a truck.
Both Johnston and Michel say Godber had a weapon on his hip.
Protesters and their supporters are now calling for Godber’s arrest and the termination of the officer who allowed Godber to leave the scene despite the physical altercation.
Several of them spoke out about the incident in front of the Collin County Commissioners on Monday, criticizing the way the police handled the incident.
Following one of the comments, Collin County Commissioner Chris Hill asserted that the protesters were the ones responsible for breaking the law. “What you’re doing is illegal,” Commissioner Hill said.