Robert Ethan Saylor – When Push Comes to Shove, What Do We Really Believe?

Author’s Note:  As a mother of a 6-year-old with Down syndrome, I have considered this post carefully and tried to temper it with my desire to encourage and support others in the Down syndrome community.  If I have failed and caused pain or antagonism, I ask for grace as I try continually to parent best a child with a disability and share him with the world.

I came across the news story of Robert Ethan Saylor back in January.  You can read about him here:  Have you seen the story?  Robert Ethan Saylor was the adult with Down syndrome who died after struggling with and being handcuffed by police officers in a Baltimore movie theater.  He had finished watching Zero Dark Thirty and was left alone in the theater while his caregiver went to fetch the car.  During that time, management asked the man to leave, he refused, and police officers moonlighting as mall security guards were called and responded to the scene.  Robert got angry, cursed at them, a struggle ensued, and he wound up in a heap on the floor with the police officers who subsequently handcuffed him.  He died from asphyxiation, complicated by serious heart issues related to his Down syndrome.

My heartfelt condolences go out to the Saylor family, and I am greatly saddened that this world has lost another precious person with Down syndrome.

Saylor family lawyer Joseph B. Espo had this to say accusing the police officers of misconduct, “One of the options they had was to simply tell the theater manager, `We’re just simply not going to deal with this.’ They should have and could have just walked away,” he said.”

His point is that because Saylor had Down syndrome, his right to behave antisocially trumped the officers’ duty to do their job.  Their job was in this case to enforce the rules of the movie theater.  But Espo says, “They should have and could have just walked away.”

Hmm.  Why?  Why?  If I was the one in the movie theater and the officers said, “We’re just simply not going to deal with this,” we would call them lazy, cowardly and insubordinate, right?

A huge part of the Down syndrome community is outraged and is calling for specialized police training specifically aimed at how to handle people with Down syndrome.  Recently there has been a similar push for the same kind of training for police officers handling people with autism.

So let me get this right:

1.  People with Down syndrome and other disabilities like autism deserve to be treated just like everybody else.

2.  People with Down syndrome and other disabilities deserve to have the same opportunities as everybody else, regardless of the cost to society.

3.  We should accept people with disabilities just like they are and stop trying to “fix” them.  This is an argument I hear a lot regarding people with autism.

Which brings me back to statement number 1.

People with Down syndrome and other disabilities like autism deserve to be treated just like everybody else.

Everybody else?  If “everybody else” refused to leave a theater after a movie was over, “everybody else” would be asked to leave, told to leave and if they didn’t leave, they would likely be handcuffed.  Robert Ethan Saylor was treated just like everybody else.

The medical examiner’s report includes the fact that Saylor had a reported medical history of anger issues, especially when confronted or touched.   Combine that with the fact that he weighed close to 300 pounds.  Add in his cognitive delay which is part of Down syndrome.

So you have a very large man with Down syndrome with significant anger issues left alone in a public place, and his death is on the officers’  heads because they had to restrain him and that restraint led to his death?

Have you ever seen a teenage boy or young adult with Down syndrome when they are angry?  I witnessed this at a Best Buy recently.  A teenager with Down syndrome was swiping things off of the shelves on to the floor and yelling.  The father had to throw the boy over his shoulder and leave the store.  He was not anywhere near 300 pounds, and it was still terrifying.

Part of the battle cry is that because of Saylor’s obvious Down syndrome, he basically should have been left alone and not expected to abide by the rules.

If it was me, I should have been arrested, but because Saylor has a developmental disability, he should have been excused.

Hmm.  Back to point 1.

People with Down syndrome and other disabilities like autism deserve to be treated just like everybody else.

Oh, and then there’s point 3.

We should accept people with disabilities just like they are and stop trying to “fix” them.

Saylor’s obesity and anger management issues probably are in large part due to that point #3.  He was probably allowed to eat as he pleased and act out most of his life because “it’s the Down syndrome.”  (insert autism, deafness, PPD, ADHD, ADD, bipolar disorder, communication disorder in the blank as appropriate.)

I have had the blessing lately of helping out in a preschool environment once a week.  In just four months time, I have witnessed two children, completely unrelated, going from happy, outgoing, well-adjusted 3- and 4-year-olds to two children who completely space out on occasion, stimming, spinning, avoiding eye contact, humming as a calming mechanism, etc . and my guess is they are on their way to autism.  Why?  Because for these precious children, the environment they are in is completely overwhelming and overstimmulating.  Because of their personalities and the unique way God made them, they are not ready for the crazy environment of preschool that they are being thrown into.  I have sat both of these children off to the side with me and talked to them quietly and sensitively and they have responded positively.  Is sheltering and delayed mass socialization the solution for every kid with autism?  No, of course not.  But we are losing our children left and right to diagnoses, and at least some of them can be prevented or treated organically.  I think moms instinctively know this, but our culture has made it tantamount to a crime to even suggest that a parent might be able to do something to help better the behavior and social skills of their child.

That’s what occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech therapists, applied behavior analysts are for is what we’re told.

Since when do we need a paid professional to equip our children for the world around them?

Since when?  Since moms and dads decided it’s more important to have two incomes than to raise the children they brought into the world.

Since the media and special interest groups have made it unconscionable to try to “fix” our children.

Since we as a culture have valued individuality above all us, even when one person’s right to be an individual and not be “fixed” robs everybody else of the opportunity to make and maintain rules and order.

Why should Robert Ethan Saylor or anybody else for that matter have the right to sit in a movie theater long after everybody else has left and I not have that same right?

My solution is this:

Can we give business owners, school principals, teachers, parents, Sunday school leaders, pastors, police officers and movie theaters the right to make the rules and to enforce them, and if your child is somehow unable to comply, can we put the burden on you to bridge the gap unless these people themselves want to bless you by bridging the gap for you?  Actually that used to be the standard, but somehow in the past 10 or 15 years, that standard and those rights have been slowly eroding.

Can we leave teachers alone and let them teach our children who can learn easily alongside everybody else and give the kids with special needs the aids they need, one on one if necessary, so that they can either also learn alongside everybody else or go off to work in an environment they can learn in?  Can people who are designated guardians or caretakers take responsibility for their charges’ behavior and do whatever is necessary to ensure they comply to the same rules everybody else is following whenever possible?

I am so, so thankful for the grace and support Noah’s team gives him.  We have Sunday school teachers, AWANAS leaders, gym teachers, neighbors and family members who are willing to go a little slower, be a little more forgiving, give a lot more grace and share more encouragement with Noah.  But God forbid I should ever demand it from anybody.  All of these people have graciously given it freely and when I expressed concern about undue burden, they have done more reassuring than I could have asked for.

To the police officers and movie theater management involved in this case, I support you for doing your job and for having the right to enforce reasonable rules.

To the Saylor family, I am sorry for your loss – the loss to your family, the loss to your community, the loss to your world and mine.


22 thoughts on “Robert Ethan Saylor – When Push Comes to Shove, What Do We Really Believe?”

    1. Very, very sad, no matter how you look at it. I thank God for each and every soul that is living with Down syndrome and mourn every loss.


  1. I’m unable to post a comment on your website. It could be that when your message is long something screws up the visitor’s ability to comment. If you don’t hear from others, this could be the reason.

    Thought-provoking, your message. I see your point about parents not passing off their responsibilities to society, and I agree. More and more we are a nation of “must have” and “give me.” Sometimes a family needs two wage earners simply to make ends meet, though. I can see where many things families want are unnecessary: electronic toys, cell phones (for their kids), etc. That would cut down on their expenses.

    How sad that the caregiver didn’t ask one of the theater managers to simply sit in the theater until she returned, explaining to them this man’s condition.


    1. Good points. It is true, it is VERY hard for the majority of people to make it on a single income. I’m lucky, but we still sacrifice A LOT in order to make it work.

      My guess is that this young man was usually fine and the caregiver didn’t expect anything to happen within the time he was absent. But I’m just speculating here. We all fail at times to do our job well, and bad things often just take minutes and then lives can be forever changed as in this case.


    1. Thanks, Jodi. As usual, I’m glad I’m not the only one. I feel pretty crazy sometimes when I read so much to the contrary. It occurred to me that the current state of things as far as how we perceive parenting and what we are “owed” is very reflective of our generation – the ME generation. We heard about it when I was a teenager, and it seemed so logical – the world owes us something, we deserve to get our needs met, period, regardless of our own effort or lack there of. It only makes sense that this generation feels that the world should not only give to them until it hurts but it should also do so for their children. Years down the road this perspective will be just a memory and an interesting part of history. I wonder what generation our kids are in and how they will shape the course of history – hopefully for the better, but I have to wonder sometimes. God help us.

  2. I understand where you are coming from and please don’t take this as an attack. I never once thought that the off-duty cops or theater manager should not have confronted Ethan, seeing as he needed to leave the theater because his movie was over. I never thought he should just be left alone to do as he pleases. However, excessive force was used on Ethan—plain and simple. Many police departments throughout the country do not use the hog-tie method of restraint because is can lead to DEATH and this situation certainly did not merit that type of force. For the media to say the he was ‘compromised by his Down syndrome’ and basically blame his death on Down syndrome is downright absurd. But obviously he deserved what he got because he had Down syndrome right? And frankly, I find it quite appalling that you would essentially blame his parents– like you say ” He was probably allowed to eat as he pleased and act out most of his life because “it’s the Down syndrome.” You have NO idea what life was like with Ethan, what he was allowed to eat, how he was allowed to behave. I find myself getting angrier writing this comment, so I’m going to stop now. I just want to say that yes you or I would probably have been arrested also if we refused to leave the theater–but would we have been hog-tied and forcibly pushed to the dirty theater floor and lay there until we stopped breathing? Probably not. Ethan deserved to be able to watch that movie–he also deserved NOT to die! Put yourself in the shoes of his mother–you have your child to hug today, she does not. To have someone with a child with Down syndrome say things like this really breaks my spirit. You are going along with the thoughts many people think of people with Down syndrome of ‘retard strength’ and ‘why was he allowed to leave the house?” As you well know, not everyone with Down syndrome is the a carbon copy of the other. I guess I expected more from a mother on this same journey.

    And just one more thing—“Since moms and dads decided it’s more important to have two incomes than to raise the children they brought into the world.”——It must be nice to be able to be with your child all day, I unfortunately do not have that luxury, otherwise I would not have a place to live or food on my table. It’s not about luxuries for me…but basic things we need to survive. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t miss my son when I’m as work or wish I was able to stay with him. I do not need a fellow mother making me feel guilty for doing what I have to do.

    1. Crystal – I understand your anger; we see things differently.

      Where do you get your information that Ethan was hog tied? It is my understanding that he simply was lying face down and his hands were handcuffed. While I can find multiple references to being hog tied on personal blogs and the like, I cannot find a single reputable source that states that the definition of hog tie has been met. (See definition of hog tie via Wikipedia: “The hogtie when used on pigs and cattle has the limbs tied in front; it is not possible to tie them behind without harming the animal. When performed on a human, however, a hogtie is any position that results in the arms and legs being bound, both tied behind the person and then connecting the hands and feet.” If you can give me a reputable source, I’d be happy to provide it in the comment section of this post.

      The reports available in this case state that when Ethan became billegerant, an officer put his hands on him to lead him out of the theater, and Ethan became even more biligerant and resistent. He struggled, the other police officers stepped in, and they all wound up in a heap on the floor. It is physically impossible to hog tie somebody and then force them to the floor. They were in a heap on the floor and then Ethan was handcuffed.

      In my opinion, the force the officers used was not excessive. They used the exact amount of force necessary to subdue Ethan. It is horrible that being in that position caused Ethan’s death. I don’t see any evidence that shows the force they used was any more than they would use on you or me if we behaved in the same manner Ethan did. If a police officer tells you or me to move and we curse at him and refuse to move, I fully expect that police officer to either arrest us or forcibly cause us to move. If we physically resist, we have escalated the situation, and an escalation of the officers’ force is understandable. Being face down on the ground with hands hancuffed behind is a common position for people when they resist arrest.

      From your comment – “Why was he allowed to leave the house?” I absolutely believe Ethan and anybody else with a disability should enjoy community and should be “allowed” to leave the house. But they need to have whatever support necessary to equip them to obey the same rules as everybody else in society has to obey. If that means having a caregiver present at all times, so be it. No free passes, Down syndrome or not.

      I agree with you, “Not everyone with Down syndrome is the carbon copy of the other.” Having my own precious 6-year-old with Down syndrome drives that home better than any literature I have read. I did not just assume that Ethan had an anger issue. It is in the Medical Examiner’s Report and is fully documented. Did his outburst look the exact same as the people with Down syndrome with anger management issues that I have seen? Probably not, but I think it’s safe to assume it was a very bad out-of-control situation and I would be disappointed if the police officers walked away and left the manager and perhaps other patrons to deal with it. There was no way for them to know the caregiver was going to come right back. Who knows if even the caregiver could have diffused the situation once Ethan was already angry?

      My point in my post that I made over and over again is that I expect people with Down syndrome, including my son, to follow the same laws the rest of us have to follow. And when a person with Down syndrome breaks those laws to the point that it endangers the lives of police officers (the struggle that Ethan put up before he was handcuffed), they need to have the same amount of authority to enforce those laws. I would think that a 300-pound man with Down syndrome can inflict the same amount of damage as any other 300-pound man can. Can you imagine what would happen if people were given free passes to break the law based upon their disabilities? I think in certain situations, grace would be nice (as in if a 30-year-old with a mind of a 7-year-old swipes a candy bar, perhaps he should not be arrested). Then again, even my 4-year-old knows that stealing is wrong.

      If I saw this incident as police officers bullying a person with a disability, especially when that disability is Down syndrome, I’d be all over this with no mercy for the police officers whatsoever. What I see is that they were doing what so many Down syndrome and disability advocates say we all should be doing – treating this precious man with Down syndrome just like everybody else. They’re more alike than different – isn’t that the way the slogan goes?


      1. OK so I misspoke when using hog-tied. Again, I never asked that anyone with disabilities be given free reign to break the law. I am very concerned about law enforcement’s excessive use of force throughout our country in general, not just this situation. I will continue to fight for justice for Ethan as I see it’s deserved. I apologize if I came across angry, but this is a very emotional situation as you know. “They’re more alike than different – isn’t that the way the slogan goes?” I personally hate this slogan because you know what–my son is different, but different doesn’t mean bad or less than. I’m have become very aware of what a lot of people think about my son since he was born ( I will NEVER forget reading a comment on an article where someone compared a person with Down syndrome to cattle—will never forget that).

        Ultimately, I hope our kids never have to be in a situation like this.

        We’ll agree to disagree?

      2. Crystal – I think we agree on much more than we disagree! It IS an emotional situation – I understand the majority’s side on this one. When law enforcement uses excessive force against ANYONE – it is an abuse of authority and a very serious crime and should be treated as such. And I am proud of you for fighting for what you believe! I hate the slogan too – I used it to prove a point about some of the Down syndrome advocacy that is going on out there. I love what you said – “You know what, my son IS different, but different doesn’t mean bad or less than.” I agree with this even more now, 6 six years down the road from Noah’s birth, than ever.

        You are on a journey that will leave you breathless and blessed with a vision far beyond typical.

        I visited your blog and I enjoyed it!

        Blessings to you and your adorable son!

  3. Yes Alyson–I agree! I just really need to take a breath. ; ) The more alike than different campaign—I don’t know what it is…it just rubs me the wrong way you know? I know a lot of advocates like it, but I just don’t. I love that he is different. I hope we can continue to connect through our blogs! The blogging community really helped me in the early days of coming to terms with Down syndrome.

    1. Darn it. Now you’ve got me stuck on imagining if it was Noah who was left alone in that movie theater.

      Let’s be honest. I would want people to back off as soon as they realized he had Down syndrome and take into account the fact that he probably was thinking like a child, not like a grown-up.

      Ethan probably was not supposed to be left alone.

      His family probably never dreamed anything like this would happen in a million years. His caregiver probably never dreamed anything like this would happen in a million years.

      And yes, you’re right – I had no right to assume he was allowed to do whatever he wanted EVER. I would go back and take that out of my post, but I want to face the music for what I wrote and for the fact that I made a mistake.

      Ethan needed to be treated like he was different, not bad or less than, just different.

      The problem I have is I don’t know how the police officers could have done their job without restraining him.

      I guess I just want everybody to make up their mind – do we treat people with Down syndrome just like everybody else or not? And if we don’t treat them like everybody else, instead we treat them like they are special (which they are), then whose burden is it?

      Tough questions. Makes me want to take my little family and go live on a farm in the middle of nowhere!

      (Moving day is the middle of May :))

      I admire people who stick it out and fight the good fight. I’m just too worn out. And sad. I hate that Ethan Saylor is dead and his mother cannot kiss him goodnight tonight.

      I appreciate your grace, Crystal. I am not one geared for controversy or conflict. I would rather be quiet and just go along with whatever than have to stand up for what I believe in. But I see how this character quality of mine has wrecked havoc in my own life and relaionships, so I’m trying to be brave and stand up for my thoughts and opinions. Of course, it’s now spilling over into my blog. But it is so healing for me to have been able to dialogue with you and get past what we disagree on and settle on hopefully supporting and encouraging each other and the children we love. If everyone was as grace-filled as you, I’d be happy to stand up for myself.

      Thanks for listening.


      1. You know I’m not usually one that likes conflict either…but since Baxter was born, this fire has just been ignited in me and Ethan’s death (and a lot of other things) have fueled my fire. We should both proudly stand for what we believe! But you’re right—it’s just a tough situation all around.

  4. I became endorsed as a primary care giver to mentally ill (intelectually challenged) in 1994 . . its a whole different deal than down syndrom so . . . I don’t think you should be “lumping” all illness and disablities together when it comes to needs in sociey. As for caring for disabled folks, I have been involved since 1975 assisting and caring for medically and developmentally disabled people . . .
    As for the case of Robert Saylor . . it appears you are percieving the uprising or fault found in police actions as they pertain to a downs syndrom person . . indeed Robert had down syndrom however the way police handled Robert is faulted regardless of him being disabled. I left comment for you at the Frederick County Sheriff Office page in FaceBook but felt perhaps I could elaborate to the paticulars here a bit more for you and others . . .
    Above all, as a caring person – I wish the deputies had shown more patience for Robert however; wont be lobbying to have the officers involved investigated and tried just because they didn’t.

    Robert didn’t have to die, and his death was a result of police actions, and his death is what makes this case different regardless of down syndrom. Although surely down syndrom should have been taken into account simply to avoid escalation with a wee bit of patience shown . . . however to bring you up to date on some of the aspects that make this case unique – I think you may be interested in some of the following reading:
    “The aide spoke with management and at least one deputy to try to defuse the situation but was ignored, according to Espo.” found here:

    Then, to understand positional asphyxia and what most law enforcement agencies are taught – have a look at this document and understand the risks involved that were not observed by deputies when handling Ethan as it relates to his stature:
    Be sure if I ever had to restrain someone – I would never put someone of Roberts build into this position for ANY amount of time due to the risk of positional asphyxia. This has been known and endosed for more than 18 years.

    Then, there is the Americans with Disablities Act – which was not recognized in either deputies actions or court procedings regarding the Saylor case. However the contents as they relate to down syndrom are neither listed as examples on the page I’ve linked to, nor am I familiar with how the A.D.A. would address conditions of down syndrom. I would like to know however, that if there is no provision for down syndrom in the A.D.A. then at least it was consulted and found NA.

    Then, folks should observe reference to the coroners office statement in the disclosure release of March 22 “Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Baltimore ruled Saylor’s death a homicide as a result of asphyxia.” Allthough there were other physical ailments listed in the autopsy which is standard procedure, they did not contribute to Ethans death. I know the disclosure report was confusing when it releases these conditions, but please don’t make assumptions based on a misleading interpretation. Ethans developmental disability, obesity, atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, and heart abnormality did not kill him, nor the fact of the 50% blockage in his coronary artery have any influence in his death. Neither did the accessory conduction pathways trigger accelerated heartbeat. Officers at the scene reported NO PULSE, they did not report an accellerated pulse.These ailments were noted in the autopsy as making him “higher risk” of sudden death, but were not listed as the cause. If they were the cause – they would have been given as the cause of death. Just because a person with these conditions is killed it does NOT mean they are what killed him. This should give you thorough understanding as to why it was determind homicide by the Office of the Cheif Medical Examiner.

    Then, more statements made by Joseph Espo claim Robet Saylor was imersed in his hand held video game prior to being approached by deputies out of uniform in the theatre. There were no complaints of Roberts conduct in the theare with exception to the plain clothed deputies whom he resisted.

    Although Robert resisted efforts by the theatre security, you may find – as I do – many counts of clear negligence on behalf of the theatre security whom shelter under the guise of “sheriff deputies” while working in plain clothes for this separate employer. Since they are employed as sheriff deputies while not working as security at the theatre – I would expect a great deal more professionalism from them.

    I hope this helps you understand some aspects of the case more clearly.

    My heartfelt sympathy for the Saylor family.

    1. Thank you, Micheil for your response. I appreciate your logical approach and the way you provided sources for the majority of the information. Before I received your comment, I was wondering if anybody with such large girth would be susceptible to death in the position Ethan (Robert) was placed in, and if so, wouldn’t that be part of training for a police officer. If those police officers received instruction to that effect as part of their training, it would place a much higher burden on them and in my eyes make them much more responsible for Ethan’s death. I wonder how they could have effectively restrained him in a different position; perhaps they could have.

      There are no additional accusations about Ethan’s behavior – simply the fact that he remained in the theater after the movie was over and refused to leave was sufficient cause for the police officers to approach him in my opinion.

      I too wish the deputies would have shown Ethan more patience; and they definately should have enlisted the help of the aide to diffuse the situation.

      A very tragic accident happened and the world has lost a very special person.

      God bless you for the work you are doing with people with special needs; it is a high calling, and it takes an extraordinary human being to answer the call. We need more people like you, especially once our loved ones age out of the school districts and we are left on our own to provide for their every need.


      1. Thank you for your kind words Alyson . . .
        I believe training for restraint is mandatory in all states and by all law enforcement agencies that operate under the Department of Justice. This training relative to officer handling persons will include handcuffing, night stick use, self defence, loading of suspects into vehicles and the risks to the detainee for each among other risks. Risk to positional or “postural” asphyxiation is included in the “face down take down procedure. If the deputies in question were ill-equiped it would be answerable by the sheriff and besides – it is in their best interest to be as competent as possible.
        As a care giver the principle tool is diffusion. Some police have stated they are no crisis counsellor. . which is fine – even if they can’t spell it . . . but to refuse intervention of a care giver and the skills they have just doesn’t follow any logic if one truly wants to de-escalte a situation. I wont go much farther into details here, but I have had high power guns pointed at me, I’ve been hit, kicked, cut, and things thrown at me and to this day; no one has ever suffered any injury what so ever by my hand.
        But Robert Saylor is now dead.
        And yes there are a few other resraint techniques that could have been used – especially since there were 3 to 1 numbers at the scene but they would place officers in a slightly higher risk however, Robert was a large fellow, and to physically move him would / should have been an absolute last resort. Personally I would have restrained him in his seat if he was violent but then if security insisted he be anywhere but in his seat their choices were reduced thusly. Which leads me to believe Robert wouldn’t have been violent before attempting to remove him from from his seat. If Robert was standing I would try to restrain him from behind – imobilizing his arms at his side but only if he was a threat to me, himself, or anyone else – not because I wanted him to leave the theatre. I don’t know of any reference to the the complete actions in the theatre but there was mention that “when deputies tried to remove him from his seat Robert resisted” which makes me believe there was no time when Robert was loose and on his feet. This reference was in the disclosure pdf published by the Frederick news post which has since been removed Robert had size, but would also have had limited flexibility.
        There was no damage or emergeny in the theatre so perhaps level heads could have prevailed, and an alternative resolution could have been sought by someone with either mental influence or a financial solution.
        I can’t help feel Roberts situation was a matter of delayed speach that would be recognized by folks familiar with down syndrom. I’m sure if Robert knew beyond any doubt the security that night were actually deputies – he would have reacted differently. I’m sure if deputies recognized, acknowleged and understood down syndrom they would have conducted things a different way. Do we know if Robert even had the $11 to pay them? Were there seats in the lobby where he could sit otherwise? And ya know, I looked up the theatre schedule for that night and didn’t see a viewing scheduled after the film he had just watched. It was 11pm and 18 people were in the theatre total. I don’t know there was another viewing in progress – even if there was – I don’t know what the rush was.
        Do these points in hindsight mean down syndrom should be ackowleged by law enforcement? yes, I think so. As it is now – authorities haven’t a clue. January 12th Robert trusted his care giver, who wasn’t permitted to intervene, he also had the trust of his care giver, the care giver also trusted police and the theatre. The police trusted their own poor judgement, the theatre trusted police and death was the result. I don’t know if you can imagine working with someone for 26 years and NOT give them that one moment where you can tell them “ok – I trust you – if just for a few minutes”. It could have been me who trusted Robert that night . . but before the night was over – I would have been arrested for assaulting 3 deputies in plain clothes. I would not expect the same from a female care giver nor should anyone expect that.
        So, the deputies wont allow a down syndrom guy sit in a theatre for a short while before he is ready to go . . but they want impunity to negligence causing death . . .
        Is the lesson really that down syndrom folks need to be taught about social skills and law? aren’t they already? Are we sure Robert was refuting law as opposed to defending himself or resisting abduction doing what he was entrusted to do – remain where he was until his care giver returned?
        or, is the lesson really that authority should be taught about down syndrom, patience, de-escalation skills, positional asphyxia, and enforcing law in plain clothes while working at a place of paid admission in society where your $11 is welcome down syndrom or not?. Nobody is asking for a theare to baby sit a tyrant here – just some confident awareness. “Attorney Patrick McAndrew, representing Lt. Scott Jewell, Sgt. Rich Rochford and Deputy First Class James Harris, said the deputies did as their training dictated.” and also that day reported was “The sheriff said his officers have been trained to deal with developmentally disabled subjects.” quoted also from the disclosure pdf that has been removed from public view.
        This whole scene disturbs me on so many levels. There is a human condition here that law will not accomodate yet, its the law that seeks forgiveness in the justice system for their own glaring negligence. To me this is bias. To me it steps on human rights, disability rights, rights of law enforcement. Trust is abused, power of position is abused, and if it goes unchecked – the disabled community will be the only sufferers.
        Of course the public is entitled to their point of view . . . I’m just grateful there are places within public reach that folks can hear mine.
        Thank you for listening Alyson, I really appreciate knowing peoples concerns.

      2. So many more good points – and all things I must ponder. It is one world to raise a little one with Down syndrome, a completely other to contemplate supporting an adult child with Down syndrome. I think though it would be most productive to grasp the concept in totality that people with Down syndrome, all people, have a place in this world and we as a society need to acknowledge and address their needs in a rational and understanding way, providing them the least restrictive environment in which they are able to live and function. I have a relative who does work similar to what you do, and I am looking forward to talking to her about some of the things you have brought up.


    1. Thanks, Andrew. Considering the facts I’ve recently learned concerning the fact Ethan’s caregiver asked to intervene to calm Ethan down AND the standards in the industry concerning police restraint specifically addressing positional asphyxia and the high risk in cases where the subject is large like Ethan was, I think at least further investigation makes sense.


      1. It great to see you observe some of the relative facts in this case Alyson . . . being familiar with health issues in North America for many years myself – I often can’t ignore more facts regarding this case in particular . . . although I wasn’t there and I have never met any of the people involved, I can’t assume the care giver went to get the car to have Ethan remain for another viewing . . I have to assume the care giver retreaved the car to leave with Ethan thus – returned to collect Ethan to leave. 1 in every 5 people in society are diagnosed with a mental health issue at one point in their life . . . 1 in 17 people are diagnosed with a serious mental illness . . . to observe mental health issues in law enforcement does not surprise me. In the case of Robert Saylor, I lean towards the opinion that it was the deputies that needed calming down. I think the more you learn about this case, the more you will understand the stigma pushed on down syndrom and the ignorance of the source. More comments at the FCSO FaceBook page . . . I do my best to be impartial and understand facts as I feel you may already know . . .
        May God bless Ethan and the pursuit of justice.

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