Robert Ethan Saylor's family sues Frederick County Sheriff's office, others
BALTIMORE, Md. (WJLA) - The parents of 26-year-old Ethan Saylor, who had Down syndrome and died after he was handcuffed and restrained by police, are now suing in federal court.
Patricia and Ronald Saylor have filed a civil lawsuit alleging gross negligence and recklessness, saying the three Frederick County Sherriff’s deputies moonlighting as security officers January 12 at the Westview Regal Cinemas, could have handled things very differently.
Ethan had seen “Zero Dark Thirty” with his aide, but when she went out to get the car, he went back in for the next showing without a ticket and refused to leave.
As the officers dragged him out, he screamed, “Mommy! Mommy!" and, “It hurts!”
Despite his aide warning officers that Ethan didn’t like being touched, the officers handcuffed and sat on the 294-pound, 5-foot-6-inch man.
An autopsy showed Saylor eventually died of asphyxiation brought on by his Down syndrome. The medical examiner ruled his death a homicide by asphyxiation.
"If any of the Defendants had heeded Mr. Saylor's aide as to how to deal with Mr. Saylor, his tragic and unnecessary death would have been avoided,” the suit states.
Ethan’s death prompted a public outcry, and 340,000 people signed an online petition asking Governor Martin O’Malley to help.
However, a grand jury declined to indict, and no criminal charges were brought on. The three Sherriff’s Deputies are now back at work.