Texas sheriff fires seven officers after black man dies in custody

Sackings come during trial of Minneapolis policeman over the death of George Floyd

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - MARCH 30: A picture of George Floyd hangs on a fence barrier that surrounds the Hennepin County Government Center as the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin continues on March 30, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Chauvin is accused of murder in the death of George Floyd. Security is heightened in the city in an effort to prevent a repeat of violence that occurred in Minneapolis and major cities around the world following Floyd's death on May 25, 2020.   Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP

A Texas sheriff on Thursday fired seven officers who were on administrative leave after the custody death of a black man, The New York Times newspaper reported.

The firings come during the trial of former Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin for the murder of a 46-year-old black man, George Floyd, by kneeling on his neck during an arrest last May, an incident that triggered worldwide protests.

Marvin D Scott III, 26, arrested after a March 14 disturbance at an outlet mall, was acting in an erratic manner and police were concerned for his safety because of the possible ingestion of drugs, they said at the time.

He died later that night after having been restrained and pepper-sprayed following his handover to the county jail, and a spit hood had been placed over his head, the Times said.

"Evidence I have seen confirms that these detention officers violated well-established sheriff’s office policies and procedures," the paper quoted Jim Skinner, the sheriff of Collin county, as saying.

He said that an eighth officer had resigned.

The newspaper said Allen city police had arrested Scott on a marijuana possession charge and that he had less than two ounces of the drug, which is a misdemeanour.

Floyd's death set off protests across the United States, and around the world, against racial injustice and police brutality to black people.