Today’s ruling won’t bring back Robert Saylor, the young man who died in police custody after employees of a Frederick, MD multiplex called the cops on the 26-year-old with Down Syndrome for trying to sit through a second screening of Zero Dark Thirty. (He had only paid for one viewing.) But the court’s decision on Friday to call the death what it was–a homicide–is a step in the direction of justice, which is more than can be said for the case thus far.
Here is the order of events from the evening, according to ABC’s Channel 7:
Saylor was at a movie theater with a health aide in Frederick on the night of the incident. He had just watched Zero Dark Thirty and refused to leave the theater after the film ended, authorities say.
Three deputies were called to handle the situation. Saylor was handcuffed and was allegedly resisting arrest when he had what authorities describe as a medical emergency.
According to a law enforcement source familiar with the case, the 26-year-old went into distress when he was put face down on the ground.
Deputies removed the handcuffs and took him to a hospital, where he was later declared deceased.
Frederick New Post wrote that Mr. Saylor died of asphyxiation, adding that “the deputies who were with Saylor at the time of his death, identified as Lt. Scott Jewell, Sgt. Rich Rochford and Deputy First Class James Harris, continue to work their normal assignments while the case is being investigated.”
All three deputies “exercised their rights under the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights and have not made statements in the case.” Frederick County State’s Attorney Charlie Smith said he won’t pursue a “partial file,” since the medical examiner has only provided them the cause and manner of death. The same goes for the internal investigation in the police department, which is still waiting on information like the location of Saylor’s caretaker, and whether or not there were any witnesses before they try to extract statements from the officers’ involved.
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