Reaction has come in from the attorney for the Saylor family, following the release of a report on the death of Robert Ethan Saylor. The 27-year-old New Market man died in January following a struggle with sheriff's deputies who were trying to remove him from a movie theater.
The report says Saylor's 18-year-old aide wrote a statement saying she told deputies that Saylor had Down syndrome, and would "freak out" if they touched him.
"I think the report highlights what we thought was the case," says Joe Espo, the attorney for the Saylor family. "The aide spoke both with the theater manager and with one of the deputies that Mr. Saylor had Downs, and you shouldn't go touch him or move him. Give me a little time. I can solve this problem."
According to the Sheriff's Office, Saylor had watched the movie "Zero Dark Thirty" at the Westview Cinemas and left with his aide. He had became upset, and smashed the window of the LensCrafters store. The caregiver called Saylor's mother, who told her to left him wait it out. A second caretaker told the first to get her car, and drive it up to Saylor, and he would get inside.
But Saylor went back into the theater, and would not purchase a second ticket to see the movie again, says the Sheriff's Office report. Theater management contacted three deputies who were moonlighting as security guards and asked that Saylor be removed.
Saylor refused to leave, and started cursing and swearing at the deputies. Deputies say Saylor became violent. He was handcuffed, and he struggled with the officers. He was placed on his side, and the deputies say Saylor sounded like he was snoring. But his aide could not wake him up. Saylor was taken to Frederick Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The three deputies involved, Lt. Scott Jewel, Sgt. Rich Rochford and Deputy 1st Class James Harris, were placed on administrative leave.
The Maryland State Medical Examiner's Office ruled the cause of Saylor's death was asphyxiation, and the manner was homicide, meaning death at the hands of another person.
A Grand Jury reviewed the case in March, and decided not to indict the deputies.
"It raises questions about whether Sheriff's Department employees are getting appropriate training for how to interact with individuals with developmental disabilities," says Espo.
The attorney for the Sheriff's Office, Daniel Karp, told the Associated Press that Saylor was "trespassing" in the movie theater when the three deputies arrested him. "Even if Mr. Saylor technically was a trespasser, having obtained the information that they did from his aide, it was unreasonable, unjustified and, in light of the events that transpired, tragic," said Mr. Espo, in response.
Mr. Espo says he and his clients will review the report and decide what their next steps, if any, will be. He would not say if the Saylor family plans to sue the Sheriff's Office and-or the county.