Frederick County's top prosecutor is promising a thorough investigation into the death in police custody of a man with Down Syndrome.
State's Attorney Charlie Smith said Wednesday he has received the investigative file sent by the Frederick County Sheriff's Office on the death of 26-year-old Robert Ethan Saylor. Saylor died of asphyxiation Jan. 12 after three sheriff's deputies tried to forcibly remove him from a Frederick movie theater at the manager's request.
Smith says his office will conduct its own investigation before deciding whether to bring criminal charges against the officers, or whether to present evidence to a grand jury. "We are still waiting on the final report from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. Obviously, that's something we have to look at before we render a decision in this matter," said Smith. "For us we have a process in place that we've been using for sometime. If needed, we will bring in the detectives that did the investigation. And if we believe we have sufficient facts, we will make a decision on criminal charges," continued Smith.
The State Medical Examiner's Office has ruled the death a homicide.
Employees said Saylor refused to either leave the theater or buy another ticket after seeing a movie. Saylor resisted the deputies and was briefly handcuffed, according to the sheriff's office, which called the circumstances leading up to his death a medical emergency.
The deputies removed the handcuffs from Saylor, and emergency medical personnel were called. Saylor was taken to Frederick Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.