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Man With Down Syndrome Killed By Police Over $11 Movie Ticket

Man With Down Syndrome Killed By Police Over $11 Movie Ticket

A 26-year-old man with Down Syndrome was killed in police custody after refusing to leave a movie theater or buy another $11 movie ticket.

A medical examiner in Baltimore ruled that the man, Robert Ethan Saylor, died of asphyxia while in police custody. The death has been ruled a homicide, the Frederick News Post reported.

On January 12, the man with Down Syndrome was forcibly removed from the Regal Cinemas Westview Stadium 16 after he refused to either leave the theater after a movie ended or buy another ticket. He was handcuffed and then suffered what the sheriff’s office referred to as a “medical emergency.”

Cpl. Jennifer Bailey said that Saylor cursed at deputies when they tried to remove him from the theater. The man with Down Syndrome then became medically distressed as officers were escorting him out of the theater in handcuffs, The Associated Press reported.

Saylor was taken to a local hospital and pronounced dead.

“In this case, the investigators are still working to determine what caused Mr. Saylor’s death,” a spokesperson said.

Cpl. Gregg Warner, the sheriff’s office’s lead investigator in the case, said he wants the full medical report from the medical examiner.

“We want to make sure we have that before any more statements could be made,” Warner said. “We have formally requested it, but there is a process they have to go through.”

After the man with Down Syndrome was killed, police allowed the officers who made the arrest to remain working instead of putting them on leave. A police spokesperson said the decision was made because of the uncertainty surrounding the man’s death.

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Comments

38 Responses to “Man With Down Syndrome Killed By Police Over $11 Movie Ticket”

  1. Chris Sky

    revolting "police officers" "serving and protecting" again. MAke sure you ALL give your guns, so these fine men in uniform can "Protect" you and your family, too.

  2. Kathleen Horigan Dye

    Disgusting. They should have been out in unpaid leave. They obviously didn't know how to work with someone who was possibly just a little different than others.

  3. Andrea Faris Roberts

    do not let this go unanswered!!! The fact is that the forcible removal (completely unnecessary) by the officers DIRECTLY CAUSED Robert's distress and eventual death.

  4. Rutro Owens

    I have a special needs son (22)….i could NEVER..no matter the circumstances…..figure why they would forcibly remove this man when he more than likely just wanted to see the movie again…..all you would have to do is sit and talk with him redirect him to another subject and eventually talk him into leaving…. this was handled in a wrong way on SO many levels…. I'm sure there was an EXTREME struggle as almost all special needs individuals have extreme strength…..EDUCATE>>>EDUCATE>>>EDUCATE. and…YES… I'm mad!

  5. Lauren Campbell

    This story makes me sick! I truely do not understand why such force was needed! Having two special needs sons it truely breaks my heart and I am praying for this family. These officers should be on unpaid leave, if not charged! ALSO, to whoever wrote the article it is not the man with down syndrome. HE HAS A NAME! It is Robert! Rest in Peace Robert! May angels be with you!

  6. Chris Kilgore

    If he wants to act like a fool, resist arrest, and his body goes into a medical emergency that is his fault. What the fuck are the police supposed to do? Not remove him because he is retarded? They made the right call in the situation. How many people was this kid annoying because he wouldn't leave? Employees cant go home or whatever… As long as the police did not use excessive force this is a non-issue. Jumping to conclusions and saying that this kid is not at fault due to having down's syndrome is not only insulting but it is discrimination.

  7. Chris Kilgore

    If he wants to act like a fool, resist arrest, and his body goes into a medical emergency that is his fault. What the fuck are the police supposed to do? Not remove him because he is retarded? They made the right call in the situation. How many people was this kid annoying because he wouldn't leave? Employees cant go home or whatever… As long as the police did not use excessive force this is a non-issue. Jumping to conclusions and saying that this kid is not at fault due to having down's syndrome is not only insulting but it is discrimination.

  8. Dean Babcock

    Well Rutro, You have a lot more expierence dealing with tards then most cops. Maybe you should teach classes to them on how to deal with tards.

  9. Lauren Campbell

    Do you really know he acted like that? Were you there? I have never seen a Downs act like that! Did those officers ID themselves seeing that they were out of uniform? Why can't employees leave? No where in the article does it say what time of day it was so how do you know the theater was closing? If we are just assuming here… I would assume he was just waiting for his aide that went with him to come back from getting to car to come back in and get him. So if someone actually just took some time and talked to him they may have know that. So the police did not make the right call and that is coming from someone who has much respect for law enforcement! By the way the term retarded is highly offensive!! You should use special needs, disabled, mentally challanged, of gifted. Thank you!

  10. Scott Kendall

    In response to Dean Babcock, for those of us who have down syndrom kids or grand kids, we understand these folks and for you, a freaking security guard with a high school education from '72 to refer to anyone as a "tard" is truely ironic. By the way I was a Dallas Police Officer for 17 plus years before I graduated from Law School and became a prosecutor for the last 15 years (that's "one"…"two"…helping you count) degrees, 10 years as a Sergeant of Police as well. And YES! Rutro is right, these guys do need training apparently. People don't just spontaneously asphyixiate when they get handcuffed. And since I DO HAVE A LOT MORE EXPERIENCE THAN MOST COPS dealing with special needs people, so I can confidently say that there is something wrong in this case, as well as the Abbey Marina for employing someone like you.

  11. Chris Sky

    Dean Babcock You are a shining example of everything that was wrong with the moronic "police officers" who "handled" this situation.

  12. Rutro Owens

    Dean Babcock….i'm looking into that right now… but please try to use a less harmful word…special needs is just fine…my son along with most others are hurt and offended but the label you used….much as the same way black are offended with the "n" word ….when someone uses a word in a hurtful way than it becomes a hurtful word. I'm sure that you did not know this when you commented :-)

  13. Yannaki Alexander

    WOW DEAN YOU REALLY DONT GET IT…. The police are being molded into an american version of the Gestapo, gone are any police that have good moral values… In fact many new police recruits have violent criminal records, and I know good police that are very upset and scared to speak up. HOW DARE ANYONE JUSTIFY MURDER

  14. Chris Kilgore

    I prefer to be offensive. It usually makes people think more. Yes I was just presenting hypothetical arguments for the situation since, at the time I wrote that, people were just attacking the officers without any thought about the situation. I was presenting other possible viewpoints.

  15. Trenton Sharp

    This is the problem with your freakin biased media. Just cause this man had down syndrome and something happened does not mean police brutality. The man was asked to leave the theater, did not. Clearly it was a problem so the police were called.He refused to leave or buy another ticket.The next option is to be forcibly removed. The officers could not expect the man to be distressed and have his health lead him in an unfortunate way. They took their call, responded appropriately and when things headed the wrong way took the man to the hospital. Read the article again. The first half does not even coincide with the bottom half.

  16. Patrick D. Wilson

    Hello Lauren Campbell, you do not know me, but I Agree 110% with you. Of course the three police officers killed Robert. It was their handling of the situation that caused his death! Had they handled Robert in a less forceful manner and took the time to talk to him and explained to him, his choices, and given the people that were with Robert the opportunity to help out. They would have gotten Robert out of the movie theater. Lauren, thank you for what you wrote, on February 19 at 6:20 pm, you said it all.

  17. Heather Hamill

    What this story doesn't mention that the other one I read, is that supposedly the "officers" were off-duty and working as security guards at the theater, in uniform. They shouldn't have even had the handcuffs on them. Either which way- this is just sickening. That they would EVER treat a person like that- and not even get suspended for it? Even administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

  18. Chad Vincent IV

    Its what statists do these days. Imagine what it will be like in 10 years.

  19. Chad Vincent IV

    Dean Babcock I hope you have a stroke and become disabled. Im sure everyone that reads your comment will hope you have karma kick your brain in.

  20. Kathleen Horigan Dye

    Trenton. You must not know anyone with ds. If he was told by his aid to "wait there" he would take that literally and not leave because he would think he would get in trouble. Anyone with training would not have forcibly removed him but would have found his aid or called for someone that could assist him. To die over an $11 movie ticket is disgusting

  21. Anonymous

    Babcock You're what's very wrong with this country, and until all of your unenlightened species die off and make room for the young and unpolluted minds we must listen to the useless dribble that spills from your misanthropic pie holes. Go get some therapy. It may not be too late to find a soul.

  22. Scott Kendall

    Trenton, apparently you've never heard of a "choke hold". When applied inappropriately it can crush the larynx. Applied too long it suffocates you. This kid didn't just spontaneously axphixiate, that's why they rulled it a homicide (intentional death). Officers receive training on how to deal with people with mental illnesses and special needs. While I'm not saying they were intending to cause his death, when taken as a whole ultimately they Did cause his death, when there are so so so many alternatives that could have been employed. I know, I've been there. By the way Down Syndrome persons do have different, and often fragile skeletal and musculature systems.

  23. Wouldnt Youliketoknow

    I think we all need to pray for Dean Babcock. Obviously, he's an ignorant, unhappy, more than likely lonely, old man who can't say anything smart or kind. This story is so incredibly sad. My heart goes out to this family…

  24. Rob Burns

    Scott, thank you for giving me some faith that good cops still exist.

  25. David Labrecque

    This is so sad! And this world has so many ignorant people no matter you disability your human not a tard! This is why people are killing them selves because ignorant jack asses who are cowards and don't have any self esteem make rude comments that make them feel better about there in security's!