Skip to comments.Robert Saylor, Man With Down Syndrome, Dies of Suffocation While in Police Custody Over Movie
Posted on 02/21/2013 9:13:55 PM PST by Altariel
Robert Saylor, a 26-year-old man with Down Syndrome, died of suffocation while in the custody of three off-duty sheriffs deputies last month, according to the ruling of the Baltimore County Medical Examiners office (video below).
According to WJLA-TV, Saylor liked the movie 'Zero Dark Thirty' and wanted to watch another showing. However, a Regal Cinema employee asked Saylor to leave.
When Saylor refused to leave, the employee summoned theater security, which was three off-duty sheriffs deputies: Lt. Scott Jewell, Sgt. Rich Rochford and Deputy First Class James Harris.
The three security guards handcuffed Saylor and threw his face on the ground where police say he had a medical emergency," which was likely a struggle to breathe.
Jennifer Bailey, of the Frederick County Sheriffs Office, said in a statement: They made numerous attempts to get him to leave, he was cursing at them, at that point they physically removed him, and he began having the medical emergency.
Bailey said the off-duty deputies immediately removed the handcuffs and administered first aid when they noticed Saylor going into distress.
Saylor was later pronounced dead at Frederick Memorial Hospital in Frederick, Maryland.
The case is now under investigation by the Maryland State Attorneys Office.
Patti Saylor, Roberts mother, stated that her son has never had anyone put their hands on him in his life. He would not have been doing anything threatening to anybody.
Jackbootlickers to show up in 3... 2... 1...
Can't say that I'm an expert or anything, but I have never met a person with Downs syndrome who would ever need to be restrained. All that I have met are very peaceful people.
Now I can recognize a downs syndrome kid pretty easily tho some are more obvious than others. One thing they all seem to have is a sweet nature.
Why in the world did they handcuff then throw him face first on the ground? I suspect it was to injure him a bit and show who was boss as if a downs kid needed to be shown.
I would just about bet that I could have gotten the kid out of there with no physical force at all, except maybe very minimal.
My youngest brother has Down’s syndrome so I know what I am stating - these cops are murderers and they are trying to cover their arses because of their monumental screw-up. Of course, since they are cops and likely UNION cops in a deep blue state, they will face ABSOLUTELY no punishment for their crime.
My condolences to the family of the victim.
It’s pretty easy to spot a Down Syndrome person. These cops are pieces of s***.
No foul play here....Move on. /sarc
“Jackbootlickers to show up in 3... 2... 1...”
IMHO, those are correctly called “copsuckers”.
But, I could be wrong.
****Saylor liked the movie ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ and wanted to watch another showing. However, a Regal Cinema employee asked Saylor to leave.****
Since when do you have to leave between movies? It used to be you could go to the movies when the theater opened, watch a double feature twice and leave when the theater closed.
The thugs with badges will use their get-out-of-jail-free card - “I feared for my life!”.
I’m surprised the cops didn’t shoot a dog in the vicinity! I guess they had to make up for the lack.
Maybe they ran out of little girls in wheelchairs.
That theater must be in a really sweet part of town to require three off duty cops for security.
You quite obviously never went to a showing of "Star Wars" when it was first released.
The lines waiting to get in zigzagged through the parking lot, and you could get in line before eleven AM and not get in before dark -and everytime the movie ended, you could hear the cheering clear outside. This from a complex that had four different theatre rooms, two of which were playing staggered showings, mind!
It was worth the wait.
(Not saying that THIS movie was, necessarily.)
The real point is that they should have let the guy stay for the next showing. He wasn't hurting anyone and the cost of a $9 movie ticket is no excuse to get physical with a man that is obviously mentally delayed.
This type of story really makes me mad. I know that this guy just being born these days is way against the odds in the first place in our superficial culture. To basically beat him to death should warrant career ending disciplinary charges as well as a potential prison sentence for these three idiots with badges! I also hope that Regal Cinema gets a multi million dollar judgment against them and the manager loses his job. He should have let it slide.
I saw Star Wars with my brother when it first came out. Theatre was crowded, maybe sold out. Went back following week with my father and brother. My dad liked it so much we stayed for the next showing. No problem at all. Never heard a thing about it.
This was in one of those old single screen monster 1,000 seat theatres built in the 30’s and 40’s. It was crowded, but there where empty seats. Even in the balcony.
yet we have three power hungry hateful cops throwing this guy to the ground...he probably was a foot shorter than any of them....big men....really big men...
The words “fired”, “arrested” nor even “suspended” do not appear in this article. The perpetrators of this awful crime are not even named.
I question why the theater would not let him re-watch the movie. Rarely do people want to re-watch a movie. When they do, they do for a good reason. They might have to leave the movie for a trip to the restroom or to answer a cell phone call. They might decide to make a quick trip to the snack bar, only to find themselves in a slow line. With the many things that can interrupt a movie; that one spent good money to watch, there is no good reason to prevent one from the full enjoyment of that movie. Then need for a second viewing is necessary.
I think the first Star Wars was the last movie I saw in a theater. My kids just had to see it. They are now in their 40s.
Exactly...why finance the left?
They didn't. According to the article author:
"The three security guards handcuffed Saylor and threw his face on the ground ....."
Reads as if they removed his face.
In seriousness and sadness, RIP Robert
It's amazing the number of government hirelings that have side jobs. Government folk seem to be some of the hardest working people out there. Either that or they get to pretty much sleep through their day job.
First, you have the initial employee who made contact with Robert. This employee is most likely a product of our illustrious public school system, where our youth are so well socialized and indoctrinated to tolerate others, and think on their own, that this employee was able to recognize and empathize with a disabled person. Oh, wait, this didn’t happen?
Then you have the caring public servants, police officers, that understand they are to support their neighbors in the community and recognize and empathize with a disabled person. Oh, wait, this didn’t happen?
People get so caught up in the “rules” that no one thinks anymore.
The very first thing I do when I arrest somebody is throw their face on the ground.
What exactly does that mean? I know what it means, the writer of the story is biased. I’ve been the victim of liberal bias in the newspaper myself.
Just last week Chris Dorner was a great guy who got railroaded and BBQ’d by LAPD.
I listened to Beck yesterday. He had the sheriff on the phone that was involved in the electric meter fiasco. After getting the sheriff’s side of the story Beck said the sheriff sounded like a reasonable man. The sheriff gave information that Beck didn’t have.
Beck shot from the hip. He didn’t apologize but he sure danced around an apology. After he got some information from the sheriff he ended the conversation by asking the sheriff where he stood on the 2nd amendment as if that was going to be his final ‘gotcha.’ Seems the sheriff was pro 2nd amendment too and Glenn’s story fizzled. Get both sides first then do what you gotta do. Trial by media usually leaves egg on a lot of faces and I bet Glenn learned a lesson. At least I hope he did.
Our dept. wanted less injuries to people when they were arrested so they gave us pepper spray. One of our guys pepper sprayed a man and he died. They gave us tazers. People die from being tazered.
Are there legitimate instances of police brutality. Yes. Is this one of them? We don’t know yet.
Is there bias in the liberal media against the police. Yes. And in my opinion people who believe it, especially people who claim to be conservative, look stupid wiping the egg off of their faces afterward.
There are way too many legitimate things to go after the police for rather than jumping on National Enquirer alien stories.
Hopefully Karma exists.
This man’s death has been ruled a homicide.
I find it unbelievable that you are defending assaulting a man who is mentally a child.
A man should not have died for want of one movie ticket. Period.
Of course it was ruled a homicide. It wasn’t a suicide. The coroner only has a few choices. All police involved ‘homicides’ go to the prosecutor for review.
Where did I defend assaulting the mentally ill?
You weren’t there. Neither was I. Until all the facts come out I don’t know how reasonable people can condemn the officers. That’s all I’m saying.
” Until all the facts come out I dont know how reasonable people can condemn the officers. Thats all Im saying.”
Ever heard the old line “Get the net, Fred!”?
Welcome to the new United Police States of America.
Your papers, prease.
This is from your own link:
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. The state medical examiner’s office has ruled the death a homicide.
There did come a point when they had to remove him from his seat, says Jenkins. There was no excess force. They did have to handcuff Mr. Saylor and unfortunately as they were walking out he suffered a medical emergency.”
Smith says the file doesn’t include the final autopsy report on Saylor. He says his office will need that document to complete its investigation.
The autopsy report isn’t even in yet. It looks to me that the physical exertion may have been too much for him. This is very unfortunate.
My 55 year old obese brother in law takes his teenage son to the movies. He brags about paying for one movie and then jumping from movie to movie and spending the whole day in the theater.
In my opinion it’s stealing. And he’s teaching his son to steal.
If he was ordered to leave by the police and did the same thing that happened here, I wouldn’t feel sorry for him if he keeled over. And it would be ruled a homicide.
People die from over exerting themselves during arrest, it’s going to happen. Cops die from over exertion while fighting with people.
Maybe we should just give overweight people who break the law a pass if they start to resist. Or people that might have a mental problem. I’ve had to fight with plenty of both.
Maybe we shouldn’t enforce trespassing laws on obese or mentally disturbed people? Maybe we should do away with private property, that way there will be no trespassing problems.
Maybe we should stop making arrests for anything except violent felonies. Just issue a summons and hope they show up for court.
Maybe we shouldn’t handcuff down syndrome people and throw them face first into the ground. I was a soldier for 10 years, so my experience is a bit different than yours, but overseas we deal with people like this, and more than often enough, calm kind words win the day. There is no defense to the cop’s behavior in this situation.
Thanks for your service. I’ll ask you the same question, were you there? I will tell you up front that I was not. Who is the person that said the cops threw him face first onto the ground?
Can you show me (I’m not saying it doesn’t exist) an eyewitness statement that says these cops “threw him face first onto the ground.”
Of all the media reports I have read, I have yet to find one witness who said the cops threw this kid face first to the ground.
The only comment I have found about the use of force in this case was by the sheriff who said there was no excessive force.
I did read one article which said he was accompanied by a home health aid. But there is no statement from the home health aid, that I have found that says the cops slammed him to the ground.
I have seen headlines that say that he was “suffocated by police.” What kind of BS is that?
I’ve been dealing with mentally ill people for nearly 30 years. Sometimes they fight. Sometimes you have no choice. Many times the mental health facilities (physicians) that treat them call us (nearly every day where I work, I had 2 yesterday) to subdue them when they cannot talk them down.
Again, I am saying, the police may have done everything right and this young man died. It is tragic. To blame the police immediately before all the facts are revealed is irresponsible.
Actually I did see STAR WARS when it was first released. Same thing, continual shows. If you walked in after it started you could still stay for the next showing. Only the high dollar “Road Shows” were more picky. When they went to general release again you could stay for the next showing.
Sounds like each of the 3 should be charged with 2nd drgree murder.
Im surprised the cops didnt shoot a dog in the vicinity!
***They got around to it.
Update On Lily The Slain Border Collie (Shot and Killed by Cops)
IMHO, those are correctly called copsuckers.
***Ouch. Jackbootlicking copsuckers. Brutal.
People with Down Syndrome are NOT “mentally ill”.
If the officers did everything right, the young man would not have died.
It is known that restraining someone and leaving them prone for too long results in asphyxiation. By restraining this man and leaving him prone, they caused his death.
Anyone who looks at this man can tell he has Down Syndrome, which is a genetic abnormality, not a mental disorder.
Indeed, no evidence has been presented, other than the word of the government employees responsible for his death, that he was violent.
The word of a government employee should always be treated with due credulity unless it is verified with substantive evidence.
Indeed. Peace officers once held to the same standard-—keep the peace, work to diffuse situations, not escalate them.
Unfortunately, the remaining peace officers seem to have retired, been removed from the ranks, or have gone to other fields.
Being restrained and kept too long in a prone position will cause *anyone* to asphyxiate.
You are attempting to compare apples to pianos; your brother does not have down syndrome; this poor man had down syndrome.
Your further red herrings demonstrate your incapability to defend the practice of restraining a man and keeping him in a prone position over-long resulting in asphyxiation.
We’re you there? How long did they have him on the ground? Since you must have been there and know more information than all the thin, biased articles you can fill us all in.
The article posted by someone that shares your opinion says they were walking him out when things went bad.
I understand the emotional and tragic aspect of this. But when people start emoting rather than thinking, example, remember this: “We all know the police acted stupidly” you end up having to put on a beer summit to smooth things over when things were not as they seemed.
I thought conservatives were supposed to be the ones that thought with their brains rather than emote. I guess that’s not always the case.
I love it when people wax nostalgic about how ‘old time’ cops used to do things. I worked with those ‘old timers.’ They’d crack your skull open with a blackjack faster, and without reason before you could turn around and put your hands behind your back to be handcuffed.
Your first trip would be in the paddy wagon for booking, the next trip would be to the hospital to get stitched up.
It's also poor management by the theater. The VAST majority of their net revenue (ie, profit) comes from food and drink sales. The longer patrons stay, the more they will consume, and the more the theater will make. Unless he was driving away other patrons, or the theaters were full (that film was released over 2 months ago, so that isn't likely), it was a bone-headed move to try to remove him in the first place.
Long enough to assure his asphyxiation, clearly.
The unlawful death of a man who did nothing deserving of his fatal sentence is not adequately summarized by “things went bad”.
But thank you for posting here, and reminding Free Republic that there are still those who will literally defend murder.
When a government employee commits it.
Peace officers who follow Robert Peel's principles would not have escalated to unnecessary force.
Government employee thugs, then as now, would ignore Robert Peel's principles when it suited their ends.
For those unfamiliar with Robert Peel's principles (and those who are ignoring their application to this case, let's review:
1. The basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder.
Whoops. A crime was committed. First failure.
2. The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon the public approval of police actions.
This and other incidents decreases public approval of police actions. Second failure.
3. Police must secure the willing co-operation of the public in voluntary observation of the law to be able to secure and maintain the respect of the public.
This and other incidents fail to maintain the respect of the public. Third failure.
4. The degree of co-operation of the public that can be secured diminishes proportionately to the necessity of the use of physical force.
Physical force is unnecessary to talk to a man who must have things explained to him at a child's level. Fourth failure.
5. Police seek and preserve public favour not by catering to public opinion, but by constantly demonstrating absolute impartial service to the law.
There are clear laws against causing another man's death, against assault, and against using unnecessary force. Fifth failure.
6. Police use physical force to the extent necessary to secure observance of the law or to restore order only when the exercise of persuasion, advice, and warning is found to be insufficient.
Physical force used far beyond the extent necessary. Sixth failure.
7. Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent upon every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
Failure to maintain this relationship. Seventh failure.
8. Police should always direct their action strictly towards their functions, and never appear to usurp the powers of the judiciary.
By ensuring his death, they effectively became this man's jury. Eighth failure.
9. The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it.
Pretending that this test is not in effect, and that the "visible evidence" is what counts. Ninth failure.
Robert Peel? Really? hahahahaha. How many cops do you think have a clue who Robert Peel was?
You can quote and tout every nice maxim and writing about police work that you care to, it all goes out the window when the rubber meets the road.
You can do everything by the Marquis of Queensbury’s rules and STILL be Dr. Evil in the newspapers. Been there, done that.
Dollars to donuts, IN THIS CASE, the cops will not be charged. But, people will believe what they want to believe.
If there were credible witnesses of police brutality the newspapers would be citing them, including from the home health aid that was accompanying this young man. They wouldn’t have to make up lines like: “smothered by police.”
All you have to do is answer the question: Were you there?
It is a rhetorical question because you and I both know the answer: NO.
Since you were not there you do not know what happened. Falsely accusing someone of wrongdoing until you know EXACTLY what happened is irresponsible.