Where is the public outrage over the death of Robert Ethan Saylor, killed in January while being taken into police custody in Frederick for the crimes of petty larceny and, perhaps, disorderly conduct?
Saylor, 26, had Down syndrome, a genetic defect that can cause cognitive deficiencies, poor judgment, impulsive behavior and other issues. Unlike many other disorders, it is associated with recognizable physical traits, especially unique facial features. Photographs show Saylor to have had the classic “Down” look.
He had gone to the movies to watch “Zero Dark Thirty,” a charged film about the raid and assassination of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan by Navy SEALs. Like many others who have seen this film, Saylor wanted to watch it again, so he remained in his seat when it was over. His health aide had stepped out of the theater temporarily.
When Saylor refused to leave the theater, a conflict arose, and three off-duty Frederick County sheriff’s deputies — working as freelance security guards at the shopping center where the theater is located — intervened. According to an account in The Post attributed to police, Saylor cursed at and struck the officers, and they used handcuffs to restrain him. After he was taken out of the theater, Saylor wound up on the ground, where he showed signs of distress. He was pronounced dead at a hospital a short time later. The medical examiner’s office has determined the cause of death as asphyxia and classified the case as a homicide. The sheriff’s department has turned over its findings to prosecutors for presentation to a grand jury.