Police Abuse

Down Syndrome Man Died at Hands of Off-Duty Cops Working Mall Security; No Charges Filed

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A coroner ruled the death of Robert Saylor, who had Down Syndrome, a homicide by asphyxiation. Three off-duty cops working mall security were trying to pull him out of a movie theater after he entered without paying. They each threw a pair of handcuffs on the 290-pound man after tackling him to the ground, then removed them when Saylor became unresponsive and tried to perform CPR.

From the Washington Post:

Moments before off-duty Frederick County sheriff's deputies tried to force a young man with Down syndrome out of a movie theater — a move that eventually led to his death —Robert Ethan Saylor's 18-year-old aide warned them that he would "freak out" if they touched him.

"Next thing I know, there are I think three or four cops holding Ethan, trying to put him in handcuffs," the aide told authorities, according to documents from the Frederick County Sheriff's Department obtained Monday by the Associated Press. "I heard Ethan screaming, saying 'ouch,' 'don't touch me,' 'get off' and crying. Next thing I hear is nothing."

The aide's statement about what happened the day Saylor died is among a package of documents released to the Saylor family's attorney and the Associated Press by the sheriff's department detailing its criminal investigation. The 98-page incident report and handwritten statements from 22 witnesses provide the most detailed account yet of how Saylor, 26, went from wanting to watch a movie he liked twice to dead from asphyxiation within minutes.

In March a grand jury declined to charge the deputies in relation to the homicide and the deputies are back at work with the sheriff's department, which had continued to stonewall the investigation. An internal affairs investigation was finally completed this week, but an attorney for the department said he couldn't comment on any specifics. He says the deputies did nothing wrong. The family is considering a civil lawsuit.

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  1. Crank up the MSM outrage machine!

    1. The victim didn’t attack his killer, so there’s nothing for the media to defend here.

      1. The victim isn’t black. And retarded kids don’t vote or if they do are not known to vote Democratic in large numbers. So there is nothing to see here. Just another dead retarded kid. His parents should have aborted him anyway.

        1. He was 290lbs and was going to die soon from heart disease anyway so the sheriff’s deputies saved* the taxpayer money.

          *presuming nationalized healthcare

        2. retarded kids don’t vote

          Wait. You have an alternative explanation for President Obama?

        3. retarded kids don’t vote or if they do are not known to vote Democratic in large numbers

          I’m not so sure.

  2. I believe the officer’s story 100% and feel that the man with Down Syndrome caused the entire confrontation. It is not illegal to drag out somebody that didn’t pay to see a movie.

    1. Well, the downs guy was on top of one of the officers beating his head against the sidewalk, right?

    2. And choking him to death was a completely reasonable response to the situation. I mean the down’s guy was on top.

    3. “It is not illegal to drag out somebody that didn’t pay to see a movie.”

      Was it appropriate to do that to a Downs Syndrome afflicted man who ended up dead? Was the stonewalling of the investigation exemplary behavior?

      Just some dead ‘tard, no loss, eh “Alice”?

      1. The real question is: did he purchase Skittles?

        1. He should have never got out of his car!

          1. he should have never had Downs what was he thinking

        2. The real question is, was he white? IF so, then his failure to pay in the theater may be a hate crime. And we all know that people guilty of distasteful thoughts deserve no justice.

      2. The tard’s parent should have aborted him anyway. Eugenics FTW! /prog-derp Alice

    4. Shorter and slightly more intelligent version of Alice’s comment: “Derpity derp derp derp.”

      1. Why do you guys respond to obvious sockpuppets? Just ignore; they hate that.

        1. If I can’t get my “Two Minutes Hate” here just where the hell can I then?

        2. Replying to sockpuppets is just a more elaborate form of trolling, aimed at you.

          Stop replying to people who engage with trolls. They get off on it.

          Unless you’re secretly triple-reverse trolling me…

    5. Go fuck yourself. It used to be that this kind of shit didn’t happen. If a retarded guy wanted to watch a movie and didn’t understand that he had to pay first, they would just let him be as long as he had a caregiver or parent present (which he did in this case) and didn’t do anything to hurt anyone. I say again, because it can’t be said enough: go fuck yourself.

  3. (off duty) procedures were followed. the totality of the circumstances – “It might put them into berserker mode and they’ll come at you like a whirling dervish, all fists and elbows” – appropriate force used. contractual due process and (off duty) officer safety. justified cessation of life functions.

    hth

    1. Needs more dumbbells.

    2. “It might put them into berserker mode and they’ll come at you like a whirling dervish, all fists and elbows”

      You’re talking about the cops, right?

      1. No, that would be “It might put them into berserker mode and they’ll come at you like a whirling dervish, all guns and tasers. You might be saying ‘no, no, no.’ But all they hear is ‘I am resisting!'”

  4. Just let him watch the movie?

    1. That would violate the OBEY! mandate that comes with being a “peace” officer.

    2. And let a crime so unpunished? Broken windows!

    3. Or leave the 26 year old with mental problems that you know is prone to freaking out if he’s ever touched at home.

      1. I had that thought as well. Why the hell was a 290 pound man with down syndrome and space issues taken to a dark movie theater? And why did his health aide sneak him into the theater without paying?

        The poor guy didn’t deserve a damn thing that happened to him, but the events leading up to it are curious to me.

        1. Reading the story, it says he wanted to see it a second time, so I’m guessing they bought tickets for one showing and he wanted to stay and watch it again.

    4. Jesus, if I was in the theatre I would have paid for the poor guy’s ticket. Is watching a movie without paying really an executable offense?

      1. No. Disobeying authority is a capital offense.

      2. If it is I should be dead a million times over – I often marathon at movie theaters

    5. No, don’t just let him watch the movie. That doesn’t mean you have to, or get to, apparently choke the guy to death.

  5. 18-year-old aide warned them that he would “freak out” if they touched him.

    So clearly the solution was to try to drag him out. The family will get a decent pay out on this. But they won’t get a huge one because judges and juries tend to put a very low value on the lives of the mentally disabled.

    1. 18-year-old aide warned them that he would “freak out” if they touched him.

      I’m surprised that aide didn’t have the shit beat out of him as well

      1. I am sure that he didn’t only because he stepped back and made no effort to stop them or get in the way. If he had done that, they would have probably killed him too. Once cops get in a group like that and they get angry you don’t want to be within a hundred feet of them. It is just an orgy of violence.

        1. The aide was a girl, apparently.

          So the brave Frederick County sheriffs were saving us all from a retarded guy and his fearsome teenage girl aide.

          1. What was he doing? Also, the manager may be at blame here too. Did the goons go after him of their own accord or did they do it because the manager said “drag him out of here”? Where was the manager? Why didn’t he look at the situation and let the aid talk him out or just leave him there until he decided to leave?

            I fully expect the cops to do the most violent and idiotic thing. But I would think the average theater manager would be smarter than the feral level of intelligence shown by most cops.

            1. I worked at a theater for a while, and the manager routinely misspelled simple things like the name John. She spelled it Jhon. And she wasn’t a squarehead either. That and she managed to mispronounce the movie Aviator. Started it with “ahh.” There were all sorts of other little things she’d screw up. It was embarrassing, but she wasn’t the type of person who you correct if you want to keep your job. In short, she was an idiot.

              1. Ah-vee-tore?

                1. Ah-vee-ay-tore

                  1. Imagine an Aviator / Avatar double feature…

                    1. I don’t think I can sit still for 8 hours.

                    2. That would take all day.

      2. True by speaking he was “resisting”

      3. I’m surprised too. “He’ll freak out if you touch him” is clearly a threat. The aide should have been immediately taken down in the interests of officer safety.

  6. Congrats, Ed, you’re getting better at this nutpunch stuff.

  7. Aw, man, I had to go and Google Image search for a picture of the guy.

    I was thinking maybe it’s one of those times that technically the guy was retarded, but he just looks like he plays for the Redskins.

    But, no, this guy couldn’t look more retarded if his name was Corky.

    There had to be absolutely no doubt in anybody’s mind that this was just a confused retarded guy.

    1. If he had looked like he played for the Redskins, they probably would have listened to the aid. They only attacked him because they thought it would be easy to beat him up and drag him out of there.

  8. Once again, I’m gonna turn the mike over to Jefferson:

    For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States

    1. What the hell is a grand jury anyway?

      1. If you just replace the words “Grand Jury” with “politically appointed prosecutor” in your mind whenever you encounter them, many things that seem puzzling will become clear. A Grand Jury is to a prosecutor what a drug detection dog is to a cop.

  9. They each threw a pair of handcuffs on the 290-pound man after tackling him to the ground…

    If I see someone do something “illegal”, let’s say, jump a turnstile at the train station, is it legal for me to tackle them and cuff them, or just legal for an off-duty cop? Am I responsible for any injuries incurred by the suspect?

    1. If you are a security guard, you are damn right you are responsible or your employer is. Private parties do have some right to self help. The mall cops can detain shoplifters and such.

      1. John,
        Do you know by what authority mall cops can hold you? Is it anything more than citizens arrest?

        1. Do you know by what authority mall cops can hold you? Is it anything more than citizens arrest?

          Depends on the state.

      2. The mall cops can detain shoplifters and such.

        I’m admittedly ignorant about the law on this. Is there some kind of immunity carved out in personal injury law especially for mall cops?

        1. They don’t get immunity. If they hurt you, you can sue. But look at it this way, if you catch someone breaking into your house stealing your stuff, you can certainly tackle them and hold them down until the police get there. No one would accuse a person who detained a burglar until the cops arrived of kidnapping.

          Same thing here. Just like any other property owner, they have a right to hold someone they catch on their property committing a crime until the cops get there,

          1. From the little I have read about citizens arrest is if you hold someone you think shop lifted but they did not they have the right to resist you with equal force that you are trying to hold them with. Also if the wrongfully accused cant get away the person attempting citizens arrest can be charge with wrongful imprisonment.

            1. Yes. They have have to get it right. If a store detains you for shoplifting and it turns out you are wrongfully accused, you can sue them. Not if they just ask you for an explanation and you provide one and they let you go. But say some asshole manager has a thing against a customer and detains them and calls the cops wrongfully accusing them of theft, the customer can sue the hell out of the store.

              It is a weird grey area.

              1. This happened to my brother in laws. They were detained at a target and searched. They complied and left. I was pissed but by the time I heard about it it had been weeks and they were willing to let it slide. I think they were detained because they were young and Latin, they would never steal. They probably could have won a lawsuit. I think if I was there age I would have done this same thing but no way I would drop it as an adult.

          2. “if you catch someone breaking into your house stealing your stuff, you can certainly tackle them and hold them down until the police get there. No one would accuse a person who detained a burglar until the cops arrived of kidnapping.”

            But they might get accused of endangering the welfare of a child if you take the kids who wrecked your house and detain them in a closet until the cops arrive:

            http://www.freerangekids.com/m…..ndalizing/

  10. And here I thought cops only get away with murder when they’re on duty. It is useful to be disabused of that naivety.

  11. What I don’t get (I know, I know. . .) is this:

    It wasn’t ruled death or accidental death by asphyxiation, it was *specifically* ruled homicide by asphyxiation.

    How does that not justify at least going to trial?

    1. It’s not what the people did that matters. It’s who they are that matters. Because of who they are the homicide is justified.

      1. Because of who they are the homicide is justified.

        I’m ok with this as long as we only apply it to all politicians.

        Citizens should have the right to hang their elected leaders for pretty much any reason.

      2. Correct. They attended a police academy for six months and were properly trained. This man with downs only died because there were no other possible options. Listening to his aide and waiting for him to “come down”? Nope, not an option. Letting him watch the movie? Nope, not an option. Letting him live? Don’t make me fucking laugh. He killed himself, really.

  12. I think Downs dude might have been better off spending the $15.

    If I had a downs baby it’d look just like Trayvon Martin.

  13. Also, I honestly didn’t think mall cops had the authority to do jack shit, so there’s that.

    What the fuck is this asshole doing wrestling people anyways? Typical fucking wannabe cop behavior there.

    1. off-duty Frederick County sheriff’s deputies

      RTFA

      1. Sheriffs aren’t real cops, but no, I merely skimmed the article instead of reading it. My bad.

        1. If they can kill you and face no consequences for their actions, then they’re real enough.

          1. When did everyone in Detroit become cops?

        2. It depends on the locality. In some places sheriff’s deputies just serve people papers and do court business, in other places they’re exactly the same as cops.

  14. IF some retarded guy had to die, why couldn’t it have been Matthew Yglesias?

    1. he’s my idiocy barometer.

      1. I’m with Hockey on this one.

        It’s like price controls… if you don’t know what the real price of stupid is, you end up with shortages and surpluses of all the wrong stuff.

  15. an attorney for the department said he couldn’t comment on any specifics. He says the deputies did nothing wrong.

    If smothering retards to death is wrong, I don’t want to be right. /sarc

    1. What would a deputy have to do to be considered by his peers to have done something wrong, anyways? Is there anything?

  16. Down Syndrome Man Died at Hands of Off-Duty Cops Working Mall Security; No Charges Filed

    What? No charges filed? Surely someone is responsible for the damage to the knuckles of the cops, probably a pulled muscle while they choked him. I mean, sure he’s dead, but the state could file something like Frederick County v. The Corpse of Robert Saylor, and extract monies from his family’s estate and give it to the cops for restitution.

  17. ON a serious note, I wonder if all the hoodie-wearing, justice for Trayvon types will get upset about this?

    Anyone? Anyone? No? Nah…they got nothin’.

    1. That kid was real retarded, sir.

      God, I hate myself.

  18. So I braved the comments to the WaPo article. They’re surprisingly good. However, there was this ultimate amount of derp, which I’m guessing came either from one of the “officers” involved, or one of their colleagues.

    Not exactly correct. There are people who are so mentally disturbed that they will commit violent acts against themselves if allowed to do so. One of those acts can involve using a great amount of force to beat themselves on the head and upper body. I have no idea of how that specific kid reacted, but he could have easily crushed his own larynx by punching himself in the throat

    1. While covered by cops who had the power to prevent that.

      Statistics on the number of Down’s syndrome people who killed themselves by punching themselves in the throat?

    2. Well, in that case, I’d say the preferred outcome was achieved. While both scenarios are highly unlikely, asphyxiation by an officer is much better than asphyxiation from crushing one’s own larynx by accident./s

      What an idiot. This all rests on the assumption these officers a) knew/believed this man was mentally handicapped and b) went through their categorical knowledge of mental handicaps and behavior commonly and uncommonly manifested by people suffering with such a disorder and c) apprehended this man in a different way because of their superior knowledge about down syndrome.

      I’ll have to go and let Derpy McDerper that I’m inclined to call bullshit on his assessment.

  19. Sometimes, merely wrestling a guy into handcuffs is enough to make him flatline. As I have said before, I had that exact scenario happen to me – a guy with a misdemeanor warrant, resisted and by the time we (my trainee officer and I) got him in handcuffs – he wasn’t breathing. Major pucker factor moment. One of the scariest moments of my life. Fortunately, we had AID on scene and they got him breathing again.

  20. If you replace every instance of “off-duty police officer” with “18-year-old pimply theater usher,” does the police department spokesman make a “they did nothing wrong” comment to the public? Just curious.

    I’m doing my best to follow my own GZ logic and not assume I have all the facts, but I’m more emotional about this because I don’t want my 6-year-old son with Down Syndrome to be beaten to death just because he doesn’t understand or can’t comply with requests.

    In the officers’ defense, my 6-year-old is surprisingly strong when he doesn’t want to comply, and he weighs about 45 lbs. I can see how a 290-lb could fight off several grown men. The difference is the average civilian would back away from such a fight, presumably to wait for the cops, during which time the mentally disabled person could be pacified in a nonviolent manner. The problem with armed, uniformed “off duty” police as your ushers is they tend to jump immediately to “you will comply,” followed shortly thereafter by “you will die.”

    1. If you replace every instance of “off-duty police officer” with “18-year-old pimply theater usher,” does the police department spokesman make a “they did nothing wrong” comment to the public? Just curious.

      See: George Zimmerman.

      No, we’re held to much… MUCH higher standards than the po-po.

      I’m doing my best to follow my own GZ logic and not assume I have all the facts, but I’m more emotional about this because I don’t want my 6-year-old son with Down Syndrome to be beaten to death just because he doesn’t understand or can’t comply with requests.

      Assume nothing.

      In the officers’ defense, my 6-year-old is surprisingly strong when he doesn’t want to comply, and he weighs about 45 lbs. I can see how a 290-lb could fight off several grown men

      I and five of my best friends will surround any 290lb man, subdue him and he will live to tell about it.

  21. It says the grand jury didn’t indict, but I’m not sure if this is a case of the prosecution deciding not to charge and then fobbing their decision off on the grand jury, or the prosecution seeking an indictment but the grand jurors reviewing the evidence and finding it wasn’t a crime.

    In the latter situation, then maybe the grand jury had knowledge of the relevant evidence and made the right decision, no matter how bad it looks in the media, eg, Zimmerman.

    1. Why does it have to even be a crime per se? Why can’t they just be fucking fired… you know, lose their jobs for killing someone. Can’t we even get that?

      Ian Birk at least lost his job when he shot someone four times in the back from 40′ away– after a very boisterous public outcry.

      Can we at least get a reprimand?

      1. The question is what did they do wrong and does it justify termination?

        Merely because somebdoy died doesn’t mean they did something wrong. When I wrestled with the guy who stopped breathing (and could have died, I got lucky), I didn’t do anything wrong.

        1. The question is what did they do wrong and does it justify termination?

          Putting someone in a deadly choke-hold for longer than any reasonable person could hold their breath?

          Merely because somebdoy died doesn’t mean they did something wrong.

          No, but it’s an awesomely strong indicator.

          When I wrestled with the guy who stopped breathing (and could have died, I got lucky), I didn’t do anything wrong.

          As a former wrestler, there’s a huge difference between two people wrestling (presumably for their lives– presumably being the operative word) and a group of people taking down someone who has been determined to be unarmed for all practical purposes just to subdue them.

          Yes, unfortunate things can happen. People can suffer cardiac arrest during a takedown– it’s an extremely stressful event. But as someone who has near to zero experience with Down’s syndrome people, I can tell you that they can become agitated when strangers start man-handling them.

          1. You are seriously comparing your experience wrestling—a voluntary activity between two consenting individuals—to three sheriff’s choking out someone to where they ended up dying?

            How is it that mental institutions are able to deal with the combative, the retarded, and the insane without killing them? Why does near every encounter these days with a LEO have to be ratcheted up to 11? I’m at the point of considering you guys the same way I’d consider a grizzly I stumbled across in the woods: no sudden moves, don’t make eye contact, back away slowly if possible. This is not a good thing for an organization that ostensibly follows Peel’s Principles.

            Jesus, just get another 10-15 bucks from the home health aide and call it a day.

            1. Paul, the exasperation at the wrestling analogy wasn’t directed at you. I’m sorry if I was unclear.

              1. You are seriously comparing your experience wrestling—a voluntary activity between two consenting individuals—to three sheriff’s choking out someone to where they ended up dying?

                You were, I was loading up cylinder with six rounds when I realized you meant to respond to the Dunphster. Thanks for the clarification.

                I was, of course, comparing my wrestling experience as to how it wasn’t like three officers subduing an uncooperative perp.

    2. Or, the grand jury can be stacked with former-LEOs and prosecutors, like it is in Harris County. Link is from 2004, but I don’t believe the system has changed any. FTL:

      Of the 129 Harris County grand jury commissioners selected in 2002 and 2003, 65 ? just more than 50 percent ? were in some way linked to the area’s legal establishment. The study identified those individuals as judges, attorneys, court employees, bail-bond agents, probation officers and law enforcement officers. One judge even selected three of his court employees as grand jury commissioners.

      Google “Key man system” for how grand jurors can be selected. And how grand juries are often used to punish political enemies. Thankfully TX SB 834 didn’t make it out of the House., so we can at least see who the grand jurors were at the end of their service.

      So no, I don’t believe that there couldn’t have been a crime committed, just because the grand jury decided to no-bill some LEOs.

      1. The story says Frederick County, MD – not Harris County. Did I miss something?

        Since I’ve been urging the need for grand jurors to be checks on prosecutors, I hesitate to assume the grand jurors are in the pocket of Big Cop – though of course they may be.

        And I also mentioned the possibility that the prosecutors are just using the grand jurors as human shields to justify a prosecutorial decision.

        1. No, you didn’t miss anything. But I doubt that Harris County has a patent on the tactic, and I thought introducing them as an example of it might be useful.

          Just what is the composition of the Frederick County Grand Jury?

  22. Sure, a guy is dead, but at least the off-duty cops saved the theatre from having someone watch a free movie. OTOH, he might have bought a sh*tload of popcorn and Coke, so they lost out there. I guess it’s a wash.

  23. The moral of the story is that if you have a relative who is mentally disabled, you should try to move him to a country that isn’t saturated with homicidal idiot cops (and corrupt police supervisors who cover for them) (and a spineless news media which – except for sources like Reason – either ignore such stories or reflexively side with the cops).

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