"they did what their training dictated that they do.”


Following up on the earlier discussion about the regularly invoked power of the state to kill its citizens without restriction and without even having to use pilotless drones, we have this truly tragic and clearly avoidable situation where a man named Robert Ethan Saylor, who had Down Syndrome, was killed by police in a movie theatre in Frederick County, Maryland for no meaningful reason. and with no repercussions for the police. 

Apparently Mr. Saylor did not respond immediately or adequately to the request of the police, and for this he was restrained in such a way that he died.  It seems like unintentional murder, or manslaughter, at least. But police officers who were not charged by a grand jury.

"Saylor was known for his hugs and was so fascinated with the police that he would sometimes call 911 just to ask a question.

In January, he and an aide watched “Zero Dark Thirty” at a Frederick movie theater. As soon as it ended, Saylor wanted to watch it again and would not leave the theater.

Officials say this is what happened next: The aide, an 18-year-old woman, was getting the car when a theater employee called the three off-duty officers, who were working security at the Westview Promenade shopping center, and told them that Saylor needed to buy another ticket or leave.

Smith, who would not go into great detail about the investigation, said that when the deputies confronted Saylor, he verbally and physically resisted their attempts to remove him. He said they restrained him using three sets of handcuffs because of his large size. Smith said that when the deputies placed Smith on his stomach, it was for “one to two minutes” and that once Saylor began showing signs of distress, the deputies removed the handcuffs, called for help and administered CPR.

Krevor-Weisbaum said that a witness heard Saylor cry out for his mother, who even though he didn’t know it, wasn’t far away. Alerted by someone to what was happening, Patti Saylor was on her way to the theater and was almost there, Krevor-Weisbaum said.

In February, the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Baltimore ruled Saylor’s death a homicide as a result of asphyxia. On Friday, Smith said that the report indicated that Down syndrome and obesity made Saylor more susceptible to breathing problems.

Krevor-Weisbaum said that Saylor had no ongoing health problems. She added that his parents had not seen the autopsy report, although they have requested it, along with all the files from the investigation. She said the family has been concerned that the investigation was handled by the same sheriff’s office that employs the deputies.

Since February, the deputies have been on paid administrative leave. An attorney for them said Friday that they welcomed the chance to testify and did so voluntarily

“They’ve stood by patiently waiting for this day to come,” attorney Patrick J. McAndrew said. “This was an unfortunate set of circumstances. Each of these professionals, devoted law enforcement officers, did what was necessary under the circumstances, and they did what their training dictated that they do.”

 

 

 

 

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