FREDERICK COUNTY, Md. - After filing a federal lawsuit in the death of their son a Frederick County family is speaking out tonight.
26-year-old Ethan Saylor, who had down syndrome, died while in police custody back in January. His parents say the off-duty Frederick County Sheriff's Deputies who were involved should be held accountable for what happened at a Frederick movie theater that night.
Jannuary 12, 2013 was supposed to be a fun night out for Ethan Saylor and his aid. The two had gone to watch "Zero Dark Thirty." After the movie was over, Ethan wanted to watch it again, and went back into the theatre, but didn't have another ticket. His mom says a manger at the theater called for security to remove him and that's when things escalated. Three off- duty sheriff's deputies who were working security that night were called in to remove Ethan. His aid says, Ethan was confused at their commands.
"He called for me, he called for his assistant," says Patti Saylor, the mother of Ethan Saylor.
As those involved tried to restrain him, Ethan's larynx was injured, he asfixiated and died while in custody. The three Sheriff's Deputies who were involved, were eventually cleared of any criminal charges in the incident. Ethan's mom, Patti says her son deserves justice for what happened that night.
"I want justice for Ethan by other people owning up to what they did, and that hasn't happened it continues to be "we did nothing wrong, we did nothing wrong," well he wouldn't be dead if somebody didn't do something wrong," says Saylor.
Patti admits Ethan was stubborn at times and can see how he might have given the deputies are hard time. Still, she says they crossed the line.
"People hurt other people when they're frustrated or angry, I want the investigation to prove to me that they did not hurt him on purpose in that moment," says Saylor.
Thursday the family filed a federal lawsuit against Regal Cinemas, Inc., Frederick County, the Frederick County Sheriff's Office, the deputies involved, and the theater's security team. The family is hoping for justice and awareness.
"He was my son. He was more than just a son to me, because having a disability, I put so much time, so much effort into teaching him and protecting him and making sure he had what he needed in the world because he was 100% dependent on me. So we were very, very close and how could somebody kill him for a movie ticket. It's unconscionable, so, of course I want an answer it wasn't an accident. He didn't have an accident at the theater," says Saylor.
The incident has prompted Governor Martin O'Malley to create a commission to help improve the training of all first responders. While the incident can't be changed, many are hoping it could help form policies to prevent additional deaths.
The parents are seeking compensatory and punitive damages for themselves and the estate of their son. The deputies who were involved have been cleared in this incident and still have their jobs.