O'Malley to meet with family of Frederick man who died in custody

Ethan Saylor, who had Down Syndrome, got into a struggle at movie theater

  • Robert Ethan Saylor is shown in this family photograph released to Reuters on February 20, 2013. Saylor, 26, who had Down syndrome, was arrested on January 12, 2013 and died while in custody of Frederick County, Maryland Sheriff's.
Robert Ethan Saylor is shown in this family photograph released… (Reuters )
September 05, 2013|By Carrie Wells and Erin Cox, The Baltimore Sun

Gov. Martin O'Malley will meet today with the family of a Frederick man with Down Syndrome who died in law enforcement custody earlier this year.

"The governor wants to make every effort to ensure this never happens to a Marylander again," said Takirra Winfield, a spokeswoman for O'Malley.

Robert "Ethan" Saylor, 26, died Jan. 12 after a struggle with off-duty Frederick County sheriff's deputies who were attempting to remove him from a Frederick movie theater. Saylor had finished watching Zero Dark Thirty but tried to stay in the theater to watch it a second time without a ticket. His death was ruled a homicide but the deputies were cleared by an internal investigation and a grand jury declined to indict them in March.

Emma Saylor, his sister, plans to present to the governor her Change.org petition calling for another investigation this morning in Annapolis. The petition garnered close to 340,000 signatures as of Wednesday. The family also wants better training for law enforcement officers on how to deal with those with developmental disabilities.

The deputies were serving as security guards for the theater when they tried to remove Saylor, placing him into custody when he suffered a medical emergency, the sheriff's office has said. The state medical examiner found that Saylor died of asphyxia, and that Down syndrome and health problems contributed to his death, though those issues were exacerbated by stressful conditions that could have compromised his breathing.



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