Train Police Officers to Correctly Handle Situations Involving Disabled Persons

Saylor

Target: John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi

Goal: Implement a training program to teach police officers how to correctly deal with situations involving mentally, physically, or genetically disabled persons.

Robert Ethan Saylor was a 22 year old with Down syndrome living in New Market, Maryland.  He died January 12 after three Frederick County sheriff’s deputies, moonlighting as mall security guards, forcibly removed him from a movie theater following a misunderstanding regarding tickets.

After Mr. Saylor refused to leave the theater the officers forced him from his chair. However, due to Mr. Saylor’s genetic and mental disorders, he had issues with being touched by strangers.  After continuing to throw a fit, Mr. Saylor was handcuffed in three places while held on his stomach.  When he was rolled over, he was unresponsive and without a pulse.

The official autopsy reported the cause of death was “positional” asphyxia, or being put in a position in which he couldn’t breathe, which was made more serious by his disabilities and a poor heart.

A Fredrick County Jury dismissed the charges even though the autopsy report concluded the death was a homicide.  Though Mr. Saylor’s death is clearly an accident, simply training the police force how to correctly deal with people who suffer from disabilities could have averted this tragedy.

Advocates for people with Down syndrome met in Washington with representatives of the U.S. Justice Department, Johns Hopkins University, and the Kennedy Krieger Institute to discuss police training for dealing with people with the genetic disorder.

Please sign this petition and support the increased training programs for the police in regards to treatment of those with disabilities.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Boehner and Mrs. Pelosi,

The recent death of Robert Ethan Saylor, a 22-year-old man with Down syndrome living in Maryland, was an unnecessary tragedy.  After refusing to leave a movie theater, Mr. Saylor was restrained by two police officers moonlighting as mall security guards. While being handcuffed, Mr. Saylor died from “positional” asphyxiation from being held on his stomach.

A Fredrick County Jury dismissed the charges even though the autopsy report concluded death was a homicide.  Though Mr. Saylor’s death was clearly an accident, simply training the police force how to correctly deal with people who suffer from metal, physical, or genetic disabilities could have averted this tragedy.

The Saylor case has already caused enough reaction to prompt advocates for people with Down syndrome met in Washington with representatives of the U.S. Justice Department, Johns Hopkins University, and the Kennedy Krieger Institute to discuss police training for dealing with people with disorders. Please do all you can to ensure a training program is implemented as soon as possible.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

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One Comment

  1. J Davidson says:

    Why such violence against a person who was not even armed or dangerous? Police should know better!!

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75 Signatures

  • James Thrailkill
  • Eric von Borstel
  • Hermann Kastner
  • sheila childs
  • Frédérique Pommarat
  • Mal Gaff
  • Terrie Phenicie
  • jeff hopkins
  • Nancy Petersen
  • Holly Hall
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