Police Murder Down Syndrome Man Over Movie Ticket and Get Away With It

Police Murder Down Syndrome Man Over Movie Ticket and Get Away With It

Ethan Saylor, a man with Down Syndrome, was just 26 years old when he was attacked and murdered by police officers at a movie theater. He’d gone to see Zero Dark Thirty with his health aide. When the film was over, Saylor decided he wanted to stay and see the movie again. His aide had left the theater to get the car. Police moved in on Saylor because he didn’t have a ticket for the second showing of the film and the aide had, by then, returned to the lobby. She warned them not to touch Saylor saying that due to his condition he would become easily upset. They didn’t listen and instead attacked Saylor, throwing him to the ground and piling on top of him, crushing his larynx as he tried to cry out for help. He managed to squeeze out the words “help, ouch!” and “Mommy!” while, according to eyewitnesses, three policemen were piling on top of him. His death has been ruled a homicide.

Of course, the Maryland police don’t see it that way. They launched their own investigation and found that police did not do anything wrong. Now, Saylor’s sister Emma has launched a Change.org petition to call for the attorney general and the governor to launch an independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding Saylor’s death.

The petition explains what happened that night:

My big brother Ethan, who had Down syndrome, was killed by three police officers earlier this year. His crime? Not buying a $12 movie ticket. And now the police officers who killed my brother are getting off with no consequences. 

On January 12, 2013, my brother Ethan went to the movies. When the movie was over, he returned to his seat to see it again. Three police officers told Ethan he had to leave, but Ethan didn’t understand why. He got frustrated and afraid when the officers told him he was going to jail. His aide came into the theater and told the officers that they should not touch Ethan because it would only make him more upset. He needed time to process their request.

But the officers didn’t listen. Witnesses say they threw Ethan to the ground and piled on top of him. Seconds later, Ethan couldn’t breathe, and eventually died. The coroner ruled that his death was homicide by asphyxiation.

The petition goes on to say that Maryland police officers are not trained to handle people who have developmental disabilities and that the police responsible for Ethan’s death deserve to be punished.

To add irony to a tragic situation, it has now been revealed that due to ADA laws, people with developmental disabilities do not even need to purchase a movie ticket if they are with a health aide or other companion. Heather Mizeur explains: “It turns out that under the ADA laws, a caretaker doesn’t need to have a ticket with someone with a disability at a movie theater anyway, so the two tickets that were purchased for Ethan and his caretaker would have been sufficient for him to stay a second time.”

So far, there has been no word on whether the attorney general and governor will begin an independent investigation on the incident. For now, all three police officers are still on duty.

By: Rebecca Savastio

Source 1

Source 2-Click to sign Change.org petition

14 Responses to "Police Murder Down Syndrome Man Over Movie Ticket and Get Away With It"

  1. Simon Alvani   November 27, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    Of course it’s an unlawful killing. Even if the arrest was justified you’d think they’d be able to bring him in alive!

  2. Bernard   April 28, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    In a bitter case of irony, it was reported in one of the local Frederick area papers that the young man, Ethan Saylor, was a fan of the police and his mother even baked the officers cookies and brought them to the station! See: http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2013-02-21/news/bs-md-saylor-death-investigation-20130221_1_robert-ethan-saylor-frederick-county-deputies

  3. Rebecca Savastio   August 23, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    @commoncents01 All the police spokesperson would say is the death was being investigated. There was no “their side of the story” offered to the news media. At the end of the investigation the police concluded, from their own investigation, that they “did not do anything wrong.” As journalists, we can only report what we know. If the police refuse to give any details to us we can’t report on those details. The police have investigated and feel they have done nothing wrong and that’s all they’ve told us. That’s what I reported. Just because you don’t like a story does not mean it’s “terrible journalism” and quite frankly your comments indicate a lack of understanding about the issues faced by those with Down Sydrome.

  4. commoncents01   August 22, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    I have to agree with John on this, at least somewhat. It definitely sounds like there was some overkill going on by the police here. However, this article is the epitome of terrible journalism! A true journalist will report all of the facts from all sides & then let people sort out their opinions from there. This is a totally bias, sensationalized article that is clearly missing many details. Again, I am not saying that what the officers did was right!

  5. ftm6899   August 22, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    I agree with Paul H; too many details are missing here. Where is the police’s side of the story? And why did the aide leave the young man alone?

  6. Nelson   August 22, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    Wow was these police officers stupid and dumb!! Couldn’t they tell he had Down syndrome they should go to jail for killing a disabled unarmed man. These are officers that are on the wrong side of the law and the officers commanding officer is stupid too he should be fired!!

  7. Snowing in Snowden lel   August 22, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    @paul H

    all of those details are completely irrelevant. Three police oficers murdered an unarmed mentaly disabled person over a movie ticket. What else is there to know about this?

    Any civilized country would at the very least trial these officers for murder.

  8. Rainandherbabyboy   August 22, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    Paul H, seriously? NONE of that matters! He was a mentally disabilitied person who wanted to watch a movie and he actually wasn’t doing anything illegal. The cops and the manager should have worked something out that didn’t involve killing the poor guy. It’s ridiculous and there is NO excuse! I can’t even believe you’re trying to justify it in anyway. Mind boggling!

  9. American   August 22, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    And again, the good ‘ole buddy’ system emerges.. couldn’t they tell he was a down syndrome victim? They didn’t have to suffocate him!!!! Those officers should be fired and maybe spend some time.

  10. Paul H   August 22, 2013 at 7:46 am

    Many details are missing here: was the man being violent and fighting the police officers? Why was a man with acknowledged emotional control problems allowed to see a violent movie like 0-D-30? Why was he left alone/unattended, and not taken out when the handler went to get the car? What role did the theater management play in this? Why did the handler not take him out once the confrontation was initiated? It’s difficult to judge this based on the lack of details, so perhaps we shouldn’t. Regardless, the loss of life is tragic beyond words.

  11. jimm   August 22, 2013 at 7:32 am

    The officers, police department, city, city board of commissioners, and the movie theater can and should be named individually and collectively in a hundred-million dollar civil suit. Only by bankrupting the entire city will people take note of and do something about this kind of continued abuse.

  12. P   August 22, 2013 at 7:08 am

    We go out of our way in condemning official brutality in other SUPPOSEDLY 3RD WORLD COUNTRIES. While the educated public officials continue to loot and murder our trust here. Are we the 3rd world here and too arrogant to notice it. Set an example here – the punishment should be same as act.

  13. John Lody   August 22, 2013 at 5:51 am

    I feel so safe in my bed at night, knowing that Maryland’s finest are vigilantly using deadly force to protect us from evil down syndrome people being able to see a film twice on the same ticket! All those officers involved in this should lose their badges and spend 20+ years in prison for aggravated manslaughter! Vile copraphages!

  14. American   August 21, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    The police get away with murder yet again.


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