Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I want my mommy: What You Can Do #justiceforethan

"I Want my Mommy"

Those were Robert Ethan Saylor's last words as right before he was suffocated to death while being hog-tied by 3 off-duty, un-uniformed police officers in a Regal Cinema in January 2013 in Frederick County Maryland.

"I want my Mommy."

Words that he frantically cried out as his mother was on her way to deescalate the situation.  As she tried to get there in time to rescue her son.

"I want my Mommy."

A dying plea from a young man with an intellectual disability as he was attacked by strangers.  As he waited in the theater after the movie Zero Dark Thirty for his aide who went to retrieve the car.

"I want my Mommy."

The last words heard by the 17 witnesses as Ethan's face was pressed into the floor.

All over a movie ticket.  All over $12.

Was it worth it?  Was it really worth it?  Is your life worth $12?  Is your child's life worth $12?

As I have said before in my post Dying At The Hands of Police, this is not about whether or not he should have been allowed to watch the movie again.  It isn't.  This is about a violation of human rights. Ethan's rights were violated and he died because of it.  He DIED.  Excessive force was used on this young man with Down syndrome.  Oh he kicked at them.  He cursed at him.  Therefore, the security guards deemed it necessary to use 3 sets of hand cuffs on him?  Hog-tie him--a method of restraint that has been banned from most police forces?

Where is the outrage? 

If you have absolutely no idea what I am talking about or why this is important, my blogger buddy Meriah sums it up nicely here: It's About Human Rights-Justice for Ethan.

This goes beyond police training.  These 3 OFF-duty officers used excessive force.  They also ignored basic training in using the hog-tie method.  So why would more training change this?

Additionally, in seeking police training and police training ONLY, we are further re-inforcing the grossly mistaken belief that Down syndrome killed Ethan. "Oh we need to train police about arresting people with Down syndrome because that guy died from Down syndrome".  Remember that Ethan's death was ruled as a homicide and yet it was said he died from Down syndrome?

As Meriah at With a Little Moxie suggests as does a few fellow bloggers, that the police involved in this homicide got off with a "hand tap" because Ethan had Down syndrome.  Would there be a bigger uproar if he had been black?  Another race?

A Cry for an Independent Investigation

The National Down Syndrome Congress states that an independent investigation is needed as does the International Down Syndrome Coalition and Down Syndrome Uprising.

 The NDSC believes an independent investigation of what happened is necessary.  “Beyond the need for accountability, we need to know exactly what occurred so that we can work with law enforcement to ensure that it never happens again.”  
Down Syndrome Uprising asks for you to contact:
To demand an independent investigation, contact these instances here.

IDSC: Please consider signing this petition and this petition.
We are asking for a simple request. An independent investigation. Then when all is said and done, we will be quiet. 

The time is now.

 What can we do?

Sign the petition.  There are a few floating around on the interwebs, this one here is the one that has been signed off on by Ethan's family and is gaining the most momentum.  Sign and share!

Bring attention to the Department of Justice to open an independent investigation:

  • Petition--this one needs 100K signatures and we only have 791 to date
  • Call DOJ: (202) 307-5138

Write to people with public contact: FBI Maryland Field Office / DOJ / Attorney General & Assistant Attorney General /  Frederick County MD police Dept. / Maryland State Police

  • Copy and paste this letter--address listed here as well.


  • #justiceforethan 
  • Stay tuned for twitter parties
  • Read here for more details
  • Sample twitter feeds:
    • “Join us in our push for #justiceforethan”
    • “Love someone with Down syndrome? Join us in our push for #justiceforethan”
    • “Disability rights are human rights. #justiceforethan”
    • “Death ruled homicide, cops walk free. We need #justiceforethan”
    • “Down syndrome isn’t a cause of death. #justiceforethan”
    • “No one should die over a movie ticket. #justiceforethan”

Add this picture to your blog, to Facebook, to twitter.

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You can also check out Little Bird's Dad step-step 8 Days for Ethan.

You do not need to be a part of the Down syndrome community to be sympathetic or to make a difference.  You just need to have a human heart.  Do one or all of the above to help make a difference.  It takes just 3 seconds to copy and paste a letter, to make a phone call, to tweet.

Then, remember to share.

I cannot do this alone.  Ethan's family cannot do this alone.



  1. Sharing all of this!!!! I am so upset over this man's death. The worst part is I only heard about this via this blog. It wasn't on the news or anything. This is a major hit to the special needs community.

    1. Yes, things have been disturbingly silent. I will tell you this--many of us have been contacting our local news as well was CNN and Huffington Post. It is not an "important" enough news story for them--not the exact words of CNN but the same message. There are people who want to get it out but right now the internet is our main way. Thank you for sharing because it HELPS!!!!!!

  2. I'm so frustrated..I've written,signed,called,tweeted,I feel like no one cares about his death.Not a man with DS..A man period was killed for nothing.I feel that if "awareness advocates" don't speak loudly about this it's setting the community back 20-30 years.Lock up your delayed angry child,keep him home.Im only into this 14 months and it will absolutely affect how I raise my son.I thought there was a progression for inclusion,acceptance,awareness.Its a farce..By the worlds comments and complete lack of compassion for another hu,an being it's very clear we are in this on our own.I sat thru therapy this morning thinking of how many hours Ethan's parents did this to have him dead at 26 for $12...$12
    This tragedy has changed me,I will not be raising him thinking he will be safe that there are good people out there that will show him kindness..That's not a given.I will never raise $1 or support awareness again,I do not want them speaking for my child when they barely whispered a prayer for him.


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