Civil Rights Lawyer Lee Merritt Announces 2022 Run For Texas Attorney General
Current AG Ken Paxton, facing charges accusing him of bribery and other crimes against his office, said he's seeking reelection.
March 24, 2021 at 3:18 pm
He made the announcement in a Saturday Twitter post.
“Texas deserves an attorney general that will fight for the constitutional rights of all citizens," the attorney wrote on Twitter.
Merritt, 38, would be campaigning against current Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican who succeeded the acting Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. Criminal charges were brought against Paxton last year after his top deputies accused him of bribery and other alleged crimes on behalf of a donor, according to Texas-area news station KSAT.com. The AG has denounced the claims and said he'll seek reelection. Merritt told reporters last week that the death of Marvin Scott III in the Collin County jail made him realize that he should rethink his approach in the fight for civil rights, Texas Public Radio reported.
I am running for Attorney General of Texas.— S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) March 20, 2021
Texas deserves an attorney general that will fight for the constitutional rights of all citizens. pic.twitter.com/JhE9HSPc8q
The Dallas lawyer, representing Scott’s family, said the man was experiencing a manic episode on Sunday when he was arrested by police. Instead of being taken to a mental health facility, Scott was transported to a hospital and then processed at the Collin County Detention Center. He died four hours later after jail staff had pepper-sprayed him, covered his head with a hood, and forcefully tied him down to a bed, according to TPR.
Merritt said he has discovered a pattern in police discriminating against residents who need mental health care, which many times have resulted in fatalities. A number of Black men like Scott have died recently at the hands of local law enforcement, per TPR. Damian Daniels, an Iraq war veteran was killed by Bexar County sheriff’s deputies after a mental health episode and Darius Tarver, a college student, was killed last year by the Denton Police during a mental health crisis, per The Dallas Morning News.“Never mind that they’re veterans, that they’re medical students like Atatiana Jefferson, that they’re accountants like Botham Jean. They’re Black and he just doesn’t see them,” Merritt said of Paxton. “He doesn’t see them.”
He added that Texas is in need of dire change.
“Our community — and I don’t mean the Black community, I mean Texas — will die from this,” Merritt said. “It will rip up this state if we don’t address this because they’re going to keep killing us. Law enforcement will keep killing people suffering from mental health crises and it will cause additional trauma to the community.”