Police Murder Man with Down Syndrome

Police Murder Man with Down Syndrome (The article followed by my FB comment)


On January 14, 2013, a young man with Down Syndrome went with his companion to see Zero Dark Thirty at the Regal Cinema in Frederick, MD. At the end of the movie, apparently because he wanted to see it again, he refused to get out of his seat. A Regal employee, rather than allowing him to stay and dealing with the situation later with his parents and the companion, called not one, not two, but three off duty Frederick County police officers who were working security for the theater at the time.

According to published reports, when the officers/ security guards asked him to leave, he mouthed off at them and “resisted arrest”. Those of you who know my son Landon can visualize what this would look like. In response, the officers wrestled him to the ground where he asphyxiated in handcuffs. The handcuffs were removed and EMS called and according to the police news release he later died at hospital. I don’t know how that reconciles with the coroner’s finding of asphyxiation which I thought was pretty immediate.

The price of a ticket at the cinema is between $9 and $11. The additional cost to Regal of allowing him to watch the movie again was ZERO. But instead a beloved young man died on the floor of a movie theater in his neighborhood at the hands of people he was taught would protect him.

The police officers remain on duty and were allowed to invoke their rights as police officers not to provide statements even though they were not on duty or performing official duties at the time. They were security guards in police uniforms.

The county police are investigating and the story has received local news coverage. Please share this everywhere both to ensure justice but also to raise public awareness.


Where is our humanity when a young, obviously disabled young man dies for the price of a movie ticket. My son is worth a lot more to me and society than eleven dollars.


Autopsy finds that Md. man with Down syndrome died of asphyxia while in police custody

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This story deserves far more attention than I am giving it here, but for what they are worth, my FB comments on Popeye’s post:

For those who are not aware, I began working for adults living with developmental disabilities when I was 18. With the exception of working in retail for a couple of years, I remained in this line of service for nearly 25 years: Front-line staff for mini-institutions, “programming”, management, writing service plans, and eventually a case manager.

The behavior of the theater employee and the police is appalling: Learning how to interact with people with developmental disabilities should start at home. “Do no harm” should apply to the general public, and the police (public servants) should excel at deescalating a situation, rather than stirring it up.

It turns out that people living with Down Syndrome, Autism… any number of things … well, they are still people. Like most people they get a bit peeved when constantly told what to do, or when their choices are limited, or eliminated.

My employees were always amazed at how far they could get simply by offering choice and giving people the space to work it out.

This type of service is regarded by the general public as something that makes people special. We never saw it that way, because there was too much love. The most difficult part of the job was dealing with the general public.

One of the worst experiences I had was when making minimum wage as a teen. One day an elderly couple pulled off of the road and lectured to me that I was making too much money to be parading “those people” around and that they “knew” we had the resources to keep them locked up (circa 1985).

To be fair, over the years many people showed great love toward my friends, but it required a lot of other folks to remain vigilant, and on occasion, diplomatic (“I am really sorry he came at you with a knife in your garage, but he does not know how to use it”) … uh … (that was autism).

Down Syndrome?: Unconditional Love disguised as a human.

No excuse for this.


3 thoughts on “Police Murder Man with Down Syndrome

  1. Pingback: Justice for Ethan Saylor | Little Bird's Dad

  2. Another key piece of information that isn’t getting near enough publicity: the medical examiner found – I can’t recall the exact term – but it was something like ‘unexplained trauma’ to the back of Ethan Saylor’s neck. In addition to getting suffocated.

    Relentless public pressure is the only thing that will lead to a genuine investigation into the murderous behavior of those uniformed thugs.

    There is hope but it seems slim. When I signed the petition and posted on FB I got a reply from one of my old HS classmates, now an atty. He told me he had a successful verdict against a killer cop in Washington State but it took SEVEN YEARS to get the verdict. And here in Fullerton, Orange County CA two deputies are sitting in jail, on trial for 2nd degree murder in the killing of Kelly Thomas, a homeless man with schizophrenia killed at a transit center. But Thomas’ father was a retired police officer, and his killing was caught on video by several people.

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