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Robert Ethan Saylor: Inquiry Into Death Of Man With Down Syndrome Complete, Police Faulted

Robert Ethan Saylor: Inquiry Into Death Of Many With Down Syndrome Complete, Police FaultedRobert Ethan Saylor: Inquiry Into Death Of Many With Down Syndrome Complete, Police Faulted

Robert Ethan Saylor, a man with Down syndrome who died in police custody after being forcibly removed from a movie theater, could have lived if officers had been more patient and trained in how do deal with people with developmental disabilities, family members said.

The Frederick County Sheriff’s Office has completed its investigation into the death of the 26-year-old man, who died January 11 after being handcuffed and removed from the Regal Cinemas Westview Stadium 16.

In the incident, a movie theater employee called police after Saylor refused to either leave a theater or buy another ticket after a showing of Zero Dark Thirty. Police arrived, and Saylor reportedly cursed and resisted deputies, leading police to handcuff him with three sets of cuffs linked together, The Associated Press reported.

During the struggle with police, the man with Down syndrome had a medical emergency, and was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. A medical examiner ruled his death a homicide.

Now that the report has been completed, the case is being reviewed by three state’s attorneys to decide if the deputies will face charges.

The lawyer for Robert Ethan Saylor‘s family, Joseph Espo, said police didn’t handle the situation correctly, the Frederick News-Post reported.

“They could have just waited a couple of minutes for Ethan’s caregiver to return to the scene and let her deal with it,” Espo said. “He was sitting in his seat, while admittedly not having paid for another ticket, minding his own business. It was not an urgent situation that required immediate attention.”

When the caregiver did return to the theater, police ignored her and her attempts to de-escalate the situation, Espo noted. He added that police weren’t properly trained to handle someone with Down syndrome, contribute to Robert Ethan Saylor’s death.

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12 Responses to “Robert Ethan Saylor: Inquiry Into Death Of Man With Down Syndrome Complete, Police Faulted”

  1. Andrew Fung Yip

    Wow, this is ridiculous. I think the theater staff should receive some of the responsibility. Is it really necessary to call in the cops?

  2. Kathy Jacob Angles

    Lived in Frederick County…I hated it then, and I still hate it now! School system sucks, and the sherrif's department will harrass teens and young adults they label as "trouble makers" rather than trying to mentor them. They're cocky, arrogant Bullies! I know, because they did it to my family, almost "stalking" one of my kids (in my opinion). Anyone ever been pulled over (in a 1977 vehicle I should add), for having the WRONG COLOR BULB for your turn signal? This was only one of MANY reasons for being pulled over! So glad we got out of there! Now, Tommy Mott and Crystal Glenn need to get the hell outta there!

  3. James Drago

    the cops should be trained to defer to a caregiver in a non-threatening situation.

  4. Elizabeth Conley

    The "officers" ignored the caregiver and her efforts to de-escalate the unneccessary confrontation because they were thugs. Like many "officers," these particular individuals are dangerous thugs who have chosen 'law enforcement' as a career that will grant them sanctioned opportunities to act out their violent fantasies. This is why we have so many ridiculous confrontations between police and citizens in which our supposedly "professional law enforcement officers" have either initiated, instigated our entirely committed the acts of violence for which the citizen-victims are blamed. Wake up people! Police must be held accountable by the communities they supposedly "defend." "Internal investigations" are white-washes. We must end this trend before more citizens are murdered, kidnapped, maimed and otherwise terrorized by police.

  5. Elizabeth Conley

    The "officers" ignored the caregiver and her efforts to de-escalate the unneccessary confrontation because they were thugs. Like many "officers," these particular individuals are dangerous thugs who have chosen 'law enforcement' as a career that will grant them sanctioned opportunities to act out their violent fantasies. This is why we have so many ridiculous confrontations between police and citizens in which our supposedly "professional law enforcement officers" have either initiated, instigated our entirely committed the acts of violence for which the citizen-victims are blamed. Wake up people! Police must be held accountable by the communities they supposedly "defend." "Internal investigations" are white-washes. We must end this trend before more citizens are murdered, kidnapped, maimed and otherwise terrorized by police.

  6. Elizabeth Conley

    If I lived in that community I would boycott that theatre forever. Never again would I spend a penny in their establishment.

  7. William Paddock

    As much as I dislike how the police operate, the parents and the "care giver" are at fault. The "care giver" should've been able to get the downy out before the police even were called. That was complete incompetence to do exactly what their supposed to do. The parents shouldn't let their retarded kid out in public if he can't behave (which he obviously couldn't and didn't understand social rules [understandable though considering the guy was mentally retarded]). Also Downys usually have a lot of health problems and die young, so that might have contributed to his death.