Category Archives: Ethan Saylor
Although this blog was launched in August 2012, it was not until 2014 when I first blogged about a case involving an unarmed person killed by police. It was Jonathan Ferrell. Previously, I blogged about unarmed people killed by private citizens. Trayvon Martin was the first followed by Jordan Davis.
As I understand it, if you access this blog via cellphone, you have to click another button to see the top menu. The top menu includes “Cases/Victims”. A pull-down menu appears when hovering over it. Recently as I started to include three other names on that menu, I was struck with sadness. There are already 127 names.
Most were killed by members of law enforcement. At least one was a member of law enforcement. Some survived the beating or shooting. Most are Black, who are disproportionately killed by law enforcement. Believing in equality and justice for all, the list on the pull-down menu includes Whites, Latinx, Asians, men and women. The cases involve Black and White officers. What is interesting in documenting cases involving Black officers is the number of times they are charged and found guilty, compared to their White counterparts.
Offhand, I only remember one case where a Black officer was acquitted. The victim in that case was 95-year old John Wrana, a WWII veteran. Park Forest, IL officer Craig Taylor shot John in the abdomen with 5 beanbags in rapid succession. John Wrana was in his room in a retirement home when he was killed. He died from internal bleeding. Officer Taylor had a bench trial and was found not guilty.
In September 2018, after I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, I lacked the energy and time to write blog posts that required research. That doesn’t mean that there weren’t victims, or trials, or recent news about investigations. Then 2019 arrived and I heard about Javier Ambler II in Texas. I thought that I felt complacent, thinking, “nothing will be done.” It’s now been 15 months and the investigation is still opened. The two deputies involved in Ambler’s death have not provided written statements. LivePD that filmed the incident destroyed the video tape.
After seeing the video of the killing of George Floyd, I was reminded of Javier Ambler II. An officer placed his knee on Ambler who said several times that he could not breathe.
Ethan Saylor also came to mind. Like Floyd, Saylor was not killed by gunshot, but by chocking. His esophagus was broken. Also like George Floyd, Ethan called out for his mother. Ethan Saylor was not Black, but he was different. Ethan was Down Syndrome. None of the 3 deputy sheriffs involved in killing Ethan were charged.
Originally when I began writing this post, my intention was to name the cases where the officers involved were not charged. They are names that others may have forgotten or not known about. Along with Ethan Saylor is Darrien Hunt; Saif Nasser Mubarak Alameri; John Crawford III; Mark Anthony Barmore. I wanted to not only inform, but to also honor the victims; to let their families know they are not forgotten. But, that all changed because there — are — just — too — many. (sigh)
It’s been a long time. I first blogged about this case in August 2013, and have been following it. Now, four years later, Ethan Saylor’s family has received some closure.
On January 12, 2013 in Frederick, Maryland, 26-year-old Robert Ethan Saylor went to see the movie “Zero Dark Thirty” in a theater inside a mall. He went by his middle name “Ethan.” Ethan was accompanied by a caretaker who, after the movie, went to get the car while Ethan waited at the door. Ethan however, wanted to see the movie again and walked back inside. He was approached by staff and told that he needed to by another ticket.
Ethan had Down syndrome, a genetic condition that impairs physical growth and intelligence. Ethan didn’t carry cash. Ethan’s IQ was 40. He had an IPhone. Because his mom later saw four, 411 calls on his IPhone, she believes that he was using it to try to get information on how to purchase another movie ticket.
The manager called security. Working security that evening were three off-duty deputies. They would not allow Ethan’s caretaker to come back inside the theater. She called Ethan’s mother.
In spite of the caretaker’s pleas that they wait because his mom was coming, the three off-duty deputies decided to physically remove Ethan from the theater. As he cried out “Help” and “I need help, Mommy,” the deputies placed him in handcuffs and a choke hold.
Ethan’s mom was 5 minutes away from the theater when she received a call diverting her to the hospital. An autopsy showed that Ethan’s larynx had been crushed and he died by suffocation. The medical examiner ruled Ethan’s death a homicide. Read the rest of this entry
Just some thoughts on this dreary, cold day.
It is hard when loved ones die from disease or old age. It is horrible when loved ones die from an accident. It is devastating when loved ones are killed by others. Those left behind always seem to have a feeling of guilt, but that’s mainly from being helpless. I’ve said on this blog many times that death does not discriminate. It doesn’t care about age, gender, or the color of skin. Money might buy medical care to extend life, but it cannot bribe death when the time comes. That sense of helplessness runs deep.
When loved ones are killed, people look to the justice system. The only comfort that comes from that is the sense of juries and judges acknowledging right from wrong. However, what juries hear and see is painted by their own hearts and minds. People are not computers programmed to process data without bias.
There are times when there are no words sufficient in bringing comfort to the hurting, to those who have lost loved ones, the ill, the tired. There are times when I feel that there must be more – something I can do, and not merely say. If I had the power of resurrection, I would walk through the hospitals, the morgue, the graveyards, calling out names and saying, “Come forth.”
Today, because I feel that there are no words sufficient to directly comfort the living, I will address their loved ones who have gone on. Read the rest of this entry
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Dr. Martin Luther King.
I’m reading the news about Eric Garner and it causes me to ask questions while getting that sick feeling in my stomach. Those questions are in regards to why such a violent act committed on Garner has gathered media attention when the same violent action against Ethan Saylor, who had Down Syndrome, is unknown by many. The only conclusion I can draw is because New York cares more about injustices against its citizens than the State of Maryland. In the alternative, New York knows how to handle public relations, even if to give its citizens false hope. Read the rest of this entry
On January 12, 2013 in Frederick, MD, 26-year-old Ethan Saylor went to see the movie “Zero Dark Thirty” in a theater inside a mall. After the movie, Ethan wanted to see it again. Someone told him he needed to buy another ticket. Ethan had Down syndrome — a genetic condition that impairs physical growth and intelligence. Ethan does not carry cash. He had an IPhone. Because his mom later saw four, 4-1-1 calls on his IPhone, she believes he was using it to try to get information on how to purchase another ticket using his IPhone.
However, the off-duty sheriff deputies moonlighting as mall security didn’t listen to Saylor’s aide who told them to wait it out. Ethan’s mom was on the way and he just needed some time.
The deputies grabbed Ethan out of his seat. A heavy guy weighing 294 lbs, they drug him to the door and face-down, three deputies were on him in a heap putting on handcuffs, with Ethan on the bottom. Witnesses say that Ethan cried out “Ouch!” “Don’t touch me!” “I need help, Mommy.” Then he went silent. When the officers realized Ethan was no longer breathing, they turned him over and tried to resuscitate him.
Ethan’s mom was 5 minutes away from the theater when she received a call diverting her to the hospital.
An autopsy showed that Ethan’s larynx had been crushed and he died by suffocation. The medical examiner ruled Ethan Saylor’s death a homicide.
David Tolleson, Executive Director of the National Down Syndrome Congress, stated, “Advancements for people with disabilities have created more opportunities for inclusion in society, which means more people with disabilities are more likely to be “out in the community. It is critical that law enforcement agencies learn strategies on how to ‘support, serve and protect’ people with disabilities”
A grand jury cleared the three officers of wrongdoing. The case inflamed disability groups, some of which have started online petitions to demand justice for Ethan. Ethan’s sister has started a petition on change.org, requesting Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley to conduct an independent investigation and formal training of police.
More on this story here.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.