The death of Robert Ethan Saylor in a movie theater in Maryland on January 12 sickens and saddens me... and keeps me awake at night. He was a young man with Down syndrome who didn't leave a theater when told to by an employee... so their security guards threw him on the floor where he asphyxiated... There is, of course, more to the story, but these are the essential details.
First, I find it horrifying that anyone would be thrown to the floor for not getting out of a chair... anywhere... ever.
Second, I find it horrifying that the security people involved claim that they did not know that they should approach people with disabilities calmly, using simplified language and allowing lots of processing time... They were reportedly off-duty police... they certainly know this about working with elderly people...
And I am very sure that they know that handcuffing people face down on the floor can cause asphyxiation... because that is fairly common knowledge whether or not their 'perp' has Down syndrome.
Third, I am sickened that this young man died crying for his mom... while his carer tried to de-escalate the situation (and was ignored)... thinking that he was being beaten up by thugs... with observers who did not intervene for him apparently...
I could be this mom... my daughter could be trusted to wait for me... I could go to get the car... and someone could yell at her for some 'crime'... this yelling absolutely would flood her mental engine... she would NOT understand what they wanted... she would either shut down or yell depending on how scared she was... and I would find her on the floor under cops... dying. So she can NEVER be alone??? And not because of criminals, but because of law enforcement? This simply cannot be. (And... we do tell her to self-advocate when attacked...)
Fourth, the medical examiner ruled his death a homicide. The Grand Jury said he asphyxiated because of Down syndrome. Ummm, no he did NOT. Down syndrome does NOT cause asphyxiation. SITTING ON people with Down syndrome can cause asphyxiation... Without these guards' actions this young man would be alive--unasphyxiated.
Fifth, when approached by NDSC and F.R.I.E.N.D.S. (a DS support group started years ago by Ethan's mother) who asked for an independent investigation, the DOJ responded that they were waiting for public outcry... UGH.
Department of Political Smarminess would be a lovely new name. Justice is not about outcry, it is about RIGHT--do not sully the word.
I am including posts below so you you can read more. Some include information from Regal Theaters. Some are petitions. Please read, learn and generate some outcry.
I am the mother of three, wife of one. I am a Partners in Policymaking graduate and a committed disability advocate. I want to catch up on my scrapbooking, learn more about art-journaling, get my house in order, read all the books I have set aside to read and change the world--not necessarily in that order. The opinions in this blog are my own and not those of any of employers.