Robert Ethan Saylor’s death was ruled a homicideyesterday by the Baltimore County Medical Examiner’s office, declaring he died from asphyxia (suffocation) while in police custody.
Saylor apparently liked the movie Zero Dark Thirty, so much so that he wanted to stick around the theater for another showing; but a Regal Cinema employee wouldn’t have it and asked Saylor to leave.
When the theater patron refused to leave his seat, the employee summoned theater security who, according to reports, was comprised of three off-duty sheriff’s deputies: Lt. Scott Jewell, Sgt. Rich Rochford and Deputy First Class James Harris.
Allegedly a struggle ensued leading the “security guards” to handcuff Saylor, throwing his face on the ground where police say he began undergoing a “medical emergency;” Saylor was after all afflicted with Down Syndrome.
However, the “medical emergency” observed was likely Saylor writhing in pain, struggling to breathe.
According to the Daily Mail, Cpl. Jennifer Bailey, of the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, stated, “They made numerous attempts to get him to leave, he was cursing at them, at that point they physically removed him, and he began having the medical emergency.” [sic]
She elaborated further stating the deputies in question “immediately removed the handcuffs and administered first aid” when they noticed the disabled man going into distress, adding “It’s a very sad case, and not something we see everyday.”
The case is now under investigation by the Maryland State Attorney’s Office.
The Huffington Post reported that Patti Saylor, Robert’s mother, stated Robert “has never had anyone put their hands on him in his life,” implying he may have reacted out of fear. “He would not have been doing anything threatening to anybody.”
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